Colorless, thermoplastic polymer or copolymer of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, or acrylonitrile. Acrylic resins are a commercially important family of polymers that were first discovered in 1880 by the Swiss chemist Georg W.A. Kahlbaum. Otto Röhm of Germany thoroughly described their production in his doctoral thesis (1901) then later patented the process in 1915. Polymethyl methacrylate was first marketed by Rohm and Haas in Germany in 1927. Acrylics have been sold by Rohm & Haas, ICI in England and DuPont in the U.S. since 1931 as glass substitutes (Plexigum®, Plexiglas®, Perspex® and Lucite® ) and as adhesives, varnishes, and paint media (Acryloid® F-10, Lucite® 44, Acryloid® B-72). Magna solvent-soluble acrylic artist paints were first sold in 1947 by Bocour, while Liquitex, an acrylic emulsion paint, was first marketed in 1954. The first acrylic fiber, Orlon®, was introduced in 1950. Acrylic resins range from soft, tacky materials to hard solids. They are glossy, optically clear, and have good shock and water resistance. They are stable to outdoor weathering and resistant to chemicals including by mild acids and bases. Acrylics are used as paints, coatings, adhesives, fabrics, textile and leather finishes, windows, mounts, and for molded household amenities.
Synonyms and Related Terms
acrylics; acrylate; methacrylate; résine acrylique (Fr.); resina acrilica (It.); polímero acrílico (Esp.); resina acrílica (Esp.); acrílico (Esp.); resina acrílica (Port.)
Examples: Acryloid® [Rohm & Haas];Plexigum® [Rohm & Haas]; Lucite® [DuPont]; Paraloid® [Rohm & Haas]; Elvacite® [DuPont]; Plexiglas® [Rohm & Haas]; Perspex®; Magna [Bocour]; Liquitex [Permanent Pigments]; Shiva [Shiva]; Hyplar Acrylic Colors[Grumbacher]; Aqua-tec [Bocour]
Soluble in mineral spirits, turpentine, aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons, esters, and ketones.
Insoluble in water, ethanol.
Softening points (Tg in C) are:
- polymethyl methacrylate (105-125)
- polyethyl methacrylate (65)
- poly iso-butyl methacrylate (48)
- poly n-butyl methacrylate (22)
- polymethyl acrylate (9)
- polyethyl acrylate (-24)
Refractive Index = 1.5
Hazards and Safety
Combustible, but often self-extinguishing or slow burning. Monomer is irritating to eyes and skin. Inhalation may cause headaches, irritability and narcosis.
C.V. Horie, Materials for Conservation, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1997.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966 Comment: Refractive index range from 1.482 to 1.521
- C.V.Horie, Materials for Conservation, Butterworth-Heineman, London, 1997
- G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: Acrylic polymers - polymethyl acrylate first made in 1880 by the Swiss chemist Georg W.A.Kahlbaum; acrylic polymers described in depth by by Otto Rohm in 1901
- Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
- ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
- Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
- The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: Acrylic painting - acrylics discovered by Otto Rohm-1880, patented 1915
- Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
- Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
- Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988 Comment: Website Hyperlink
- Website address 1 Comment: History of Plastics: Linkhttp://www.nswpmith.com.au/historyofplastics.html
- Website address 2 Comment: http://www.archivalsuppliers.com/glossary.html