The term “acrylic” refers to a product that is made with a substance derived from acrylic acid or any related compound such as polymethyl methacrylate. It usually has a glass-like appearance and comes with many amazing properties that make acrylic a better alternative than glass in many scenarios. One of the common uses of acrylic can be seen in custom trophy plaques, as acrylic can easily be customized and personalized as per the needs of the customer.
Different Types of Acrylic
There are mainly two types of acrylic material – extruded and cast. Extruded acrylic is produced through a process wherein the manufacturers push liquid plastic through specialized rollers. The liquid plastic is pressed into sheets by the rollers as it cools. This creates a softer acrylic sheet, which can be designed and shaped as per the requirements of the manufacturer. Extrusion is also a relatively economical process, which makes the final product easy on the pocket. That is why this type of acrylic material is more commonly available in the market.
The main drawback of extruded acrylic sheets is that because they are softer, they can get scratched very easily. In some cases, extruded acrylic sheets might contain some impurities as well. On the other hand, cast acrylic is generally considered to be of superior quality when compared to extruded acrylic. Yet their better quality comes with a higher price tag as well. To make cast acrylic products, single sheets are first produced by pressing liquid plastic using a mold, which is usually made of glass. It then goes through a slow heating process, which produces a stronger acrylic sheet to be cut and shaped as per the needs of the manufacturer.
Pros and Cons of Opting for Acrylic Trophy Plaques
There are numerous consumer products these days, which are made from extruded or cast acrylic. The most common examples of acrylic products would be shower doors, windows, bath enclosures, skylights, aquariums, and trophy plaques. The main advantage of acrylic is that it is far much stronger than glass, which makes it more resistant to damages from impacts. Although it would still break or chip due to heavy impact, it would be more durable than using glass in the same environment. Besides, acrylic also insulates much better than glass, which means that installing acrylic windows at your home would help to save a lot on your monthly bills.
Acrylic also has incredible clarity and allows around 95% of visible light to pass through it easily. It does not carry any green tint either, which is usually seen in all kinds of glass products. However, the clarity of acrylic would be dependent on the final product, as acrylic sheets can also be colored in different hues intended for its use too. In any case, acrylic weathers decently, which keeps its clarity maintained over its long life without turning yellowish or breaking down due to exposure to sunlight for prolonged hours.
Another key benefit of opting for acrylic trophy plaques is that they would weigh half as much as glass awards and trophies of the same size and shape. This makes it easy to display acrylic trophies on the office desk or corner shelves. Besides, the lightweight nature of acrylic also makes it easy for trophy manufacturers to work with the material to create bigger designer projects where weight could pose a problem. Moreover, acrylic sheets having a thickness of over 1 inch could also be bullet resistant. This is why acrylic material is seen to be used for the presidential motorcade, teller enclosures at banks, the pope’s booth-vehicle, and many drive-through window enclosures. As it is a very durable material, acrylic is used in aircraft windows as well.
Even though acrylic features unmatched durability, it can still be shaped as per the needs of the user. Nonetheless, as extruded acrylic can crack or get chipped when it is machined, most of the top-quality acrylic products are made from cast acrylic material. At the same time, any type of acrylic products can be made without seams, because the chemical welding would melt the seams at the molecular level and make it a single piece of solid material. Even if there were any visible seams, they would be polished by the manufacturer to make it virtually invisible in the final product.
As for the disadvantages of acrylic, there are two prominent ones to note; the first one being its higher price when compared to glass and the other its vulnerability against extreme heat. Acrylic products would melt if exposed to direct flame and would release toxic fumes. That is why it is required to take adequate safety precautions when cutting or bending acrylic sheets. Note that some people presume that acrylic would become yellowish, brittle, or crack over time. However, these are just misconceptions and can only be true if you buy cheap forms of thermoplastic products. There would not be any such concern when you buy high-quality custom acrylic trophy plaques.