Acrylic is stronger than glass, but at the same time, it is easier to work with. As a result of that convenience, thick and thin acrylic sheets are used across multiple industries today. Some sectors have more need for it than others though, as they stand to benefit most from using the material. Let’s take a brief look at some of those sectors next.
Medical Equipment Manufacturing
Several types of medical equipment rely on acrylic today. For example:
- Medical valve blocks are often crafted from transparent thick sheets or blocks of acrylic.
- IV tubes and filters are often made from transparent, medical-grade acrylic.
- Acrylic is a common material for manufacturing blood transfusion tubes.
- Blood samples for diagnostic tests are collected, transported, and even preserved in medical-grade acrylic vials.
For acrylic to qualify as being suitable for safely manufacturing medical equipment, it must meet certain specific criteria. These standards are set on the polymer’s clarity, durability, and ability to resist chemical reactions from medication, lipids, disinfectants, and UV rays among other things. Several medical equipment manufacturers in the UK depend on the CLAREX range of acrylic products from Weatherall Equipment & Instruments since they meet those standards. Check their website for more information on CLAREX thick sheet and thin sheet products.
Interior/Exterior Décor and Furnishings
Acrylic is a safer alternative to glass for the construction of mirrors, shower doors, and bathroom windows. It is stronger than glass, can be just as reflective/non-reflective, and the material does not shatter into dangerous shards, even if it breaks. Additionally, design and colour options with acrylic are far more extensive than what glass can offer. The polymer is also used extensively in the manufacturing of weatherproof outdoor and indoor furniture, architectural constructs, fountains, swimming pool windows, aquariums, and so much more.
Normal household windows are also made from acrylic sheets, but high-pressure windows are significantly thicker, especially the engineered products designed to resist extreme water/air pressure. They are placed inside underwater structures and watercrafts such as submarines, oceanic aquariums, and underwater tunnels. Acrylic is the material of choice because of its impressive ability to withstand high water pressure. Aeroplane canopies are manufactured from thick sheets of acrylic as well, since they can handle high air pressure just as easily.
Safety Visors and Shields
Motorcycle helmets, hard hats, and sports helmets have a shell made from polycarbonate or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). If they have visors, those are generally made from clear, thick acrylic sheets. Aside from helmet/hat visors, acrylic is widely used to construct germ shields that separate two areas (reception and the waiting area, medically quarantined sections).
The scope of acrylic in industrial settings is too vast to be mentioned comprehensively here, but these sectors are among the chief consumers today. It is expected that along with a boost in usage of acrylic within the present industries, additional sectors will also find use for it over the coming decade.
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