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Acrylic in Profile

Marcryl, Acrylic Sheet

Acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic which is often preferred to glass for certain applications due to its comparative weight, cost and ease of handling The material was developed in 1928 in various laboratories, and was first brought to market in 1933.

Material Facts

Acrylic refers to a family of synthetic, or man-made, plastic materials containing one or more derivatives of acrylic acid. The most common acrylic is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which is a tough, highly transparent material with excellent resistance to ultraviolet radiation and weathering. It can be coloured, moulded, cut, drilled, and formed. These properties make it ideal for many applications including airplane windshields, skylights, automobile taillights, and outdoor signs. One notable application is the ceiling of the Houston Astrodome which is composed of hundreds of double-insulating panels of PMMA acrylic plastic.

Material Science

Acrylic or PMMA is a vinyl polymer, made by free radical vinyl polymerization from the monomer methyl methacrylate. PMMA is a member of a family of polymers which chemists call acrylates, but the rest of the world calls acrylics.

What are the characteristics of Acrylic?

  • Exceptional optical clarity, high gloss 
  • Lightweight, half the weight of glass
  • Impact strength higher than both glass and polystyrene
  • Transmits up to 92% of visible light (3 mm thickness)
  • Filters ultraviolet (UV) light at wavelengths below about 300 nm (similar to ordinary window glass)
  • Has excellent environmental stability and is suitable for outdoor applications

Material Usage

Acrylic is highly decorative and versatile material and has been used in a wide range of fields and applications due to its transparency, workability and high gloss finish.

Some typical applications for Brett Martin's acrylic brand, Marcryl, include:

  • routered signs
  • built up signs
  • illuminated signage
  • point of sale items
  • leaflet holders
  • poster covers
  • furniture
  • picture framing
  • shoes

Environmental Impact

At the end of an acrylic product´s life it can be recovered, recycled or disposed of safely.

Industry Resources/Links

Plastics Industry


  • European Plastic Distributors Association
  • International Association of Plastics Distributors