Acrylic is an extremely versatile material which is used in a wide range of environments. Acrylic sheeting is available in a huge range of variations, including; clear, coloured, mirrored, frosted and even with a brushed aluminium effect.
Extruded acrylic and cast acrylic are the two main types of sheet acrylic you will come across. Although they may initially look similar, the two have quite different properties and one is also much more expensive than the other.
It is important to be aware of the differences between the two so you can pick the type most suitable for your needs.
Extruded and cast acrylic sheets differ mainly in their thermal and chemical properties which are caused by the manufacturing process. There are also several other differences as outlined below which you may wish to consider when choosing acrylic sheet for your home DIY project.
Key differences you should be aware of when working with acrylic sheets:
Due to the way the sheets are made cast acrylic tend to have slight variations in the thickness of the sheet whereas extruded sheets are much more uniform, with next to no variation. This makes extruded acrylic ideal for vacuum forming or situations where more detailed precise shapes are needed.
Cast acrylic has an isotropic response to temperature meaning there is a maximum shrinkage of 2% in all directions. It may be important to note that acrylic expands and contracts at a much greater rate than glass. Extruded acrylic, on the other hand, shows differences in shrinkage depending on the thickness and direction of extrusion.
Benefits of Extruded sheets
Benefits of Cast acrylic sheets
Both types of acrylic benefit from being durable and long lasting, showing excellent resistance to natural aging. Most manufactures will guarantee against noticeable yellowing for approximately 10 years.
Often it may not be made obvious which type of acrylic you are buying, especially online. Cast acrylic can be as much as double the price of extruded acrylic so if nothing is mentioned and it seems cheap, the chances are it is extruded acrylic.
Teflon is the trade name for PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), a polymer consisting of carbon and fluorine. Teflon was developed back in 1938 by a DuPont researcher named Dr. Roy Plunkett. The development changed the plastic industry forever.
Plunkett and his DuPont team created one of the most slippery substances that exist. PTFE is not only beneficial for its nonstick property; it offers many other great qualities as well. The polymer is resistant to high temperatures, chemical reaction, corrosion, and stress cracking. These traits allow PTFE to be used for many different purposes.
One common household use for Teflon or PTFE is cooking. Many kitchen supply brands market their Teflon pots, pans, and utensils. These products are safe and make cooking a lot easier. The non stick PTFE component guarantees your food will slide right off the pot or pans surface. Cooking sprays and grease are no longer needed when you cook and bake with a Teflon coded product.
Another at home use for PTFE is with beauty products. Nail Polish is commonly infused with Teflon to create a strong, crack free product. Once applied, the Nail polish will stick to your nails longer with chipping. Many hair styling products, like curling irons and flat irons are also made with PTFE. The non stick coating helps the tools glide smoothly through hair, unaffected by the high heat temperatures.
PTFE is also significant in the automotive industry. One frequent use is with windshield wiper blades. Manufacturers coat their wiper blades with Teflon so the well known "squeaky blade situation" does not occur.
A fourth public use of PTFE is as protection for carpets and fabrics. Carpets and fabrics that include Teflon are less susceptible to stains. The PTFE acts as a repellant to liquids so spills can be easily wiped off.
Besides household and personal use, PTFE is widely used in a variety of business industries. The Steel and Chemical Processing Industries are two prime examples. These industries need strong and reliable hoses and tubing to transfer highly caustic and corrosive chemicals. They work with high temperatures to produce their products or services and they have to have a means for withstanding the heat. Teflon is great since it is carries the heat resistant and corrosion or stress free characteristics. PTFE tubing and hoses deteriorates less rapidly than metal piping. Manufacturers are catching on to this cost saving technique.
As you can see, PTFE properties are endless. They assist us with day to day tasks like cooking, cleaning, and driving. They contribute to our beauty prepping. And, PTFE's play a major role in the processes of industries like the Steel and the Chemical Processing Industry. Plunkett and DuPont might not have realized just how far their development would go. They created a product that remains essential to many functions in society today.