Types of Plexiglass

By Kimberly Hawthorne
Plexiglass image by Eagle from Fotolia.com

Plexiglass is widely available in a range of colors and thicknesses, starting with 1/16 inch and increasing in 1/16 inch increments up to 2 inches. Anything over 2 inches will probably need to be special ordered. Sheets of plexiglass range in size; a full sheet is typically 4 feet by 8 feet. Plexiglass can be engraved, drilled, cut, bent, glued, and screwed, and has a much greater impact resistance than glass. It is used in a wide variety of projects, from home windows to doll house windows, to iguana houses and shelving.

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate plexiglass is the least expensive type and is sold at most hardware stores. Polycarbonate is pliable at 240 degrees, though it scratches and cracks fairly easily. It is available in a wide variety of colors, including neon and frosted varieties, and is UV reactive.

Acrylic

Acrylic plexiglass is similar to polycarbonate, though it is pliable at 500 degrees and is not available in UV reactive form. One benefit of acrylic plexiglass is that it is completely unaffected by moisture. Sheets of this type can be translucent, transparent, or opaque. Acrylic plexiglass is considerably stronger than glass and much lighter, making it a good alternative for windows.

Copolyester

Copolyester plexiglass is one of the most flexible varities and is UV resistant. It is pliable at 250 degrees and is only available in clear.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC plexiglass is resistant to scratches and cracks and is self-extinguishing, meaning it doesn't not support flame once the source of the flame is gone. It is pliable at 245 degrees, UV unstabilized, and comes in a range of colors.

Plexiglass Rods

Plexiglass rods are made of cast acrylic and come in clear or colored varieties. The standard size is six feet, though the rods can easily be cut down.