Acrylic sheet

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Plexiglas watch cover
MFA# 2006.630


A transparent sheet or film made of acrylic resins. Originally introduced as 'organic glass' in 1931, the thermoplastic acrylic sheets are prepared by cast polymerization or extrusion. Some common brand names are Plexiglas®, Perspex®, and Lucite®. Acrylic sheets are lightweight, tough, and colorless with excellent clarity and outdoor weather resistance. Compared to glass, acrylic is lighter and shatter-resistant, but more susceptible to scratching and transmission of UV. Acrylic has the unique ability to carry light around corners. Acrylic sheets are used for safety glass, aircraft canopies, windows, skylights, signs, instrument dials, tail light lenses, lighting fixtures, optical lenses, storage and display cases, bulletproof glass. Other types of clear plastic glazing include Polycarbonate sheets (e.g. Lexan®).

See also Glazing comparison.


Synonyms and Related Terms

acrylic glass; acrylic glazing; acrylic panels; lámina acrílica (Esp.); chapa acrílica (Port.)

Product names: Lucite® [Lucite]; Perspex® [Lucite); Plexiglas® [Arkema]; Altuglas® [Arkema]; Acrylite® [Piedmont Plastics]; Acrylplast; Optix ® [Curbell Plasctics]


Acrylic sheet
  • Glazing
  • Window film (with or without colors and/or UV absorbents)

Personal Risks

Combustible, but often self-extinguishing or slow burning.

Collection Risks

Links to Oddy Test results posted on AIC Wiki Materials Database Pages for individual materials below

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in mineral spirits, turpentine, aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons, esters, and ketones.
  • Insoluble in water, ethanol.
  • Several types of coatings can be added to increase scratch resistance and decrease UV light transmission.
  • Density = 1.11-1.19
  • Refractive Index = 1.49

Resources and Citations

  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998