Acrylic glass vs. Glass: the differences

Acrylic glass is popular and above all represents a popular glass substitute. However, not a few do-it-yourselfers are wondering where in addition to the price further differences between glass and acrylic glass can be found. Is acrylic glass only a financial alternative or does it offer even more advantages? These questions regarding acrylic glass versus glass, we answer in the following guide for you.

Acrylic glass, Plexiglas, PMMA - first differences?

First of all, the basic characteristics of acrylic glass. It is a plastic that belongs to the group of thermoplastics. The chemical name is polymethylmethacrylate or in the short form PMMA. Plexiglas is also acrylic glass, but not any. Plexiglas is the brand name for acrylic glass from Evonik Röhm GmbH.

This company is from the former company of Dr. med. Otto Röhm emerged, the inventor and chemist who brought acrylic glass under the patent-protected name "Plexiglas" to series maturity. But since it was the most important acrylic glass from the very beginning, the product name "Plexiglas" has become synonymous with the eponymous designation of acrylic glass among consumers.

There are differences in quality between different acrylic glasses

When considering acrylic glass in general terms, the differences between Plexiglas and other acrylic glass are marginal. Nevertheless, there are particular quality features and special features in setting certain requirements that can distinguish Plexiglas from other acrylic glass. There are also differences between acrylic glass and other plastics. We have summarized these in the following guide for you: Acrylic glass versus other plastics.

Striking acrylic glass properties over glass

Of course, there are more differences than just the price between acrylic glass and conventional glass. Whereby it can even be stated that the prices of acrylic glass are not necessarily classified as "cheap". It is still a high quality product. The differences between glass and acrylic glass are particularly evident when you take a closer look at the properties of acrylic glass:

  • Acrylic glass has a high impact resistance and associated flexibility
  • Acrylic glass is about 40 to 50 percent lighter than conventional glass
  • easy mechanical processing
  • chemical and thermal processing also possible
  • higher translucency of acrylic over glass
  • UV transmission or UV opacity can be adjusted

Differences in UV permeability

These are only such properties that we have counted here that particularly illuminate the differences between acrylic glass versus glass or window glass. In addition, acrylic glass has many other properties that glass also has, but may be influenced. Let's just take the UV transmission.

For greenhouses it depends

Through glass is not the full spectrum of UV radiation. This may be an advantage for windows of a residential building, but not for a greenhouse. Surely you also know the tasteless, bland tomatoes from Dutch greenhouses. This taste is due to the conditional or poor UV transmission.

Therefore, for example, more and more modern greenhouses are made of double-skin sheets. These can be polycarbonate or acrylic sheets. The guidebook "acrylic glass versus other plastics" explains possible differences here.

Translucency of acrylic higher than glass

But that's not all. The translucency of single-pane window glass is around 80 percent. The acrylic glass, by contrast, at a staggering 92 percent. Many people are surprised because they believe that plastic glass and therefore acrylic would be less translucent. Only expensive single-pane floating glass comes with 90 percent light transmission somewhat to that of acrylic glass.

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Acrylic glass considered in the long term

In addition, the ravages of time are also gnawing at window glass. The material becomes cloudy and milky. With the proper care of acrylic glass this comes loose on life of 30 years and more. Here, especially weather and UV resistance play the PMMA glass. Not to mention all the processing and processing techniques you can apply to acrylic glass. Whether you are polishing, grinding, sawing, bending or even casting and welding acrylic glass, cutting glass tiles is already causing huge problems with glass.

Video Board: Glass vs Acrylic