27 June 2023
At Perspex® we manufacture and distribute an enormous range of high quality materials that can be used in a multitude of applications.
Two of those materials are Perspex Cast Acrylic and Perspex Extruded Acrylic, but what is the difference?
The short answer, the manufacturing process.
Two of our most popular materials Perspex Cast Acrylic and Perspex Extruded Acrylic can often be misinterpreted as one and the same. However these materials in fact do have varying properties which stems right back to the different ways that are manufactured. Read on to find out more.
Offering excellent transparency and weather resistance, this lightweight recyclable material is one of our most popular for very good reason.
Manufactured in the UK since 1933, Perspex Cast Acrylic is amongst our most versatile products, with an abundance of colour, texture and finishing options, the applications of Perspex Cast Acrylic are virtually unlimited.
The more cost effective option compared to Cast Acrylic, Perspex Extruded Acrylic offers similar features such as optical clarity however this material is far better suited to being manipulated into complex shapes.
Providing greater weather resistance and with a highly polished surface, Perspex Extruded Acrylic is suitable for applications such as light fittings, point of sale displays and glazing.
The process of manufacturing Perspex Cast Acrylic involves a process called polymerisation.
This involves mixing the raw materials, which are -
Methyl Methacrylate Monomer (Liquid)
Polymethyl Methacrylate Pellets (solid)
Once the materials are mixed, they are poured into a mould and heated. This causes the methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA) to polymerize and form long chains of PMMA molecules, a process called casting, which is where this material gets its name.
The now cast acrylic sheet is then slowly cooled in a temperature controlled oven to relieve any stresses that had built up during the casting process, this is to prevent the material from becoming brittle.
The finished cast acrylic can then be cut, trimmed and polished to the desired size and shape.
The final result is ready to use, high quality and durable Perspex Cast Acrylic.
Extruded Cast Acrylic gets its name from the extrusion process used during the manufacturing phase.
This involves mixing the raw materials to form a resin.
The resin is then fed into an extrude, a machine which melts and mixes the resin under high pressure and temperature, it will then extrude the material to form a continuous sheet.
To avoid any warping or distortion the sheet is then slowly cooled, ensuring a constant thickness throughout.
The final result is a ready to use, weather and chemical resistant Perspex Extruded Acrylic.
The different manufacturing processes are used to give the materials their own unique qualities.
Extruded Acrylic is a simpler process in regards to the material being manufactured in higher volumes, making it popular for bulk orders and bigger projects.
Cast Acrylic however is made in smaller quantities but does allow for great customisation options in terms of colour.
Both materials are extremely high quality and have a wide range of applications, when deciding between the two the deciding factor is the specific needs for the material within your project, this includes considerations such as budget, clarity and impact resistance.
If you are interested in any of our Extruded or Cast Acrylic products, feel free to contact us here to discuss your requirements, our expert team are happy to help guide you to the perfect material for your project.