We owe all of the conveniences of our modern lifestyles to the great inventors of our time. Among the many successful inventions that have been made over the centuries, plastic is arguably one of the best ones. This ubiquitous man-made material is so useful that it is practically impossible to look in any direction and not see something made out of plastic. It is flexible, lightweight and very durable – properties that make plastic an ideal material for making a variety of products from food packaging to furniture.
Acrylic plastic is a popular variety of thermoplastic that is used in various residential and industrial items. It often comes in sheet form, which varies in terms of thickness. Invented in 1936, acrylic possess a level of versatility that comes with the fact that it can be cut, molded, and shaped according to your specifications. It is known in the scientific world as polymethylmethacrylate, which means that it is stronger than most natural materials. It was heavily used during the Second World War as it was a much safer alternative to glass. Unlike glass, acrylic plastic does not shatter into small and dangerous fragments; instead, it separates into large pieces, which are not likely to cause injury.
Apart from its durability, acrylic also has the ability to resist external substances such as water and acids. On the other hand, you must be wary of organic substances like alcohol and gasoline as acrylic is not resistant to them. Many products that typically use glass in their production, like doors and windows, have already seen acrylic as a worthy alternative. Not only is it safer and lighter than glass, but it also insulates better and has a much longer life span. Other common items that make use of acrylic include lighting fixtures, aquariums, furniture, consumer electronics, and aircraft canopies among many others.
Acrylic can be either opaque or transparent, but it is definitely more notable for its excellent transparency. This is why it is such a common material in the production of fluorescent light lenses and vanity cases – because it resembles the clarity of glass. Fish tanks made of acrylic are popular nowadays because they are sturdy and allow natural ultraviolet light to be absorbed by the marine life inside. Massive sheets of acrylic can be seen in the form of barriers on ice hockey rinks as well as bathroom partitions and kitchen countertops.
Maintaining the quality of acrylic plastic does not require much effort. To clean the sheets, you will need mild soap or detergent, lukewarm water, and a soft cloth for drying. Oil and tar stains can be removed simply by applying a small amount of kerosene to the plastic. It is important to remember that using window cleaning spray products and scouring compounds are not appropriate cleaning agents for acrylic plastic as they can cause irreparable damage to the item. If you wish to work with acrylic on your own, try not to remove the plastic masking on top of it. Use tools that are made specifically for working with acrylic in order to get optimal results.
This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84