Acrylic Vs perspex: What Are The Differences?

Are you looking for perspex alternative?

What is the difference between Acrylic and perspex ?

What is perspex ? It is a brand name for acrylic sheet. Acrylic is a commonly used name for Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) which is produced by numerous manufacturers around the world. Each manufacturer then brands their sheets - some of the most common brands available in the UK are perspex, Plexiglas, Policril, Acryglas and Acrycast.  

Does Sheet Plastics supply the perspex brand?

We do not supply the perspex brand, we do supply acrylic sheets that are of comparable quality. We source our acrylic sheets from some of the best manufacturers around the world to offer our customers the highest quality at the best prices.

What are the comparable characteristics between perspex  and our range of Acrylic Sheets?

Below is some information which shows some of the similarities between the perspex brand* and one of our brands of Acrylic Sheet. Comparing the characteristics of Acrylic to perspex shows very little difference between the two products. If you have previously bought perspex, you will notice very little difference if you opt for Acrylic sheets from Sheet Plastics in the future.

DENSITY 1.19 1.19

Our range of Acrylic Sheets can also be processed in the same ways as perspex. These methods include laser cutting, CNC Cutting, Bending, Polishing, Forming, Cutting and Moulding.

*perspex characteristics are taken from perspex data sheets. 


What is perspex?

The brand perspex uses a material called Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA), an acrylic. This acrylic material is also referred to as acrylic glass, plexiglass and various other trade names such as Sheet Plastics, all of which use this transparent thermoplastic material. 

PMMA is typically manufactured into sheets, rods and tubes. It is a lightweight, shatter-proof replacement for glass and can be used for a whole host of purposes.

What is perspex / acrylic  used for?

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Dental prosthetics
  • Furniture design
  • Lighting
  • Picture frames
  • Roofing
  • Signage
  • Spectator protection shields (ice rinks)
  • Viewing windows (even for aquariums and submarines)
  • And so much more!

As seen above, acrylic is used in many industries such as residential, commercial, dental and medical. 

But for everyday use, perspex glass (PMMA) can be used for greenhouse panels, kitchen splashbacks and shower panels. 

Acrylic is such a versatile material that comes in a range of colours and finishes and is a widely accessible and affordable material that can be easily cut to size. 


What is acrylic plastic made from?
Acrylic plastic is a vinyl polymer. It is part of the polymer family and is also known as  acrylates, but for simplicity, it’s commonly known as acrylics. The density of perspex (PMMA) is 1.18 g/cm³.


Is acrylic plastic easy to clean?
When cleaning acrylic sheets, it’s best to use luke-warm water, a very small amount of washing-up liquid and a non-abrasive cloth, and gently wipe over it in a circular motion to lift smudges, dirt and grime. Rinse away the soap and dirt using cold water and use a microfiber cloth to stop water spotting. 

To keep acrylic looking its best, do not use harsh chemicals such as solvents or chlorinated products, abrasive cleaning implements or squeegees.


How are acrylic sheets stored?

Acrylic sheets should be stored horizontally and in a temperate climate. Be aware that if acrylic sheets are stored vertically they may bend. Always keep the protective sheets on acrylic during their time in storage.


How are acrylic sheets cut?

Acrylic sheets can be cut with metal hand saws, jump saws, scribers, electrical ribbon saws and circular saws. It is important that the blades of all saws are fine and freshly sharpened to achieve the optimal cut. 

Acrylic sheets can also be cut with lasers for more complex and decorative cutting requirements.

Water blasting is another method used to cut acrylic sheets but is used less frequently than the other alternatives.


Can you drill through acrylic sheets?
When drilling through acrylic sheets, the surface must be cooled with soluble oil, polish or vaseline to maintain a high-quality finish. You can also reduce the impact of vibrations by securing the acrylic sheet on top of a wooden block. 

All drill bits should be sharp and follow these specifications: angle of incidence: 0°: angle of edge: 130°: back slope 15”.


Thermoforming acrylic plastic

When acrylic plastic (PMMA) reaches 160°, it can be molded into a different shape. When acrylic plastic cools, it will maintain its new shape.

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