Cast acrylic and extruded acrylic are two popular types of acrylic. So cast acrylic Vs. extruded acrylic, what’s the difference? And which one is better for your project? This blog post will look at the difference between cast and extruded acrylic and their applications. Let’s get started!
Cast Acrylic Vs. Extruded Acrylic: Definition
What Is Cast Acrylic?
Cast Acrylic is a versatile material with many applications, from protective guards and windows to furniture and art pieces.
The production process involves casting the acrylic on hot liquid and then cooling it. As it cools, the polymer chain molecules come together to form a sheet or block of consistent acrylic. The cast acrylic is then machined into its desired shape with precision cutting tools before being shipped off for use in various industries.
This manufacturing method allows the cast acrylic to be produced in an exact shape while achieving strong texture, uniformity, and clarity. The heavy-duty nature of this product ensures that any items made with cast acrylic will have a high-quality finish that will last for years.
Because of its unique transparency and tensile strength, cast acrylic can also be used outdoors with no fear of cracking or shrinking due to temperature changes or direct sunlight.
What Is Extruded Acrylic?
The production of extruded acrylic begins with high-quality acrylate resin pellets fed into a heated tube surrounded by high-pressure augers.
This causes the pellets to melt and be forced out of a small hole at the end of the tube, forming a long continuous rod. This rod is then cut into different sizes and shapes according to the desired dimensions for the final product.
After being cut, these pieces are placed in a hot water bath to smooth out any rough edges.
Cast Acrylic Vs.Extruded Acrylic: Difference
Cast acrylic is an incredibly versatile material which can be used to create numerous shapes, objects, and fixtures. Moreover, it is also available in a more extensive range of thicknesses than extruded acrylic, giving manufacturers greater flexibility in determining their desired finished product.
Extruded acrylic can be laser-cut with incredible accuracy, allowing complex shapes and custom designs to be created easily and quickly. That being said, during the cutting process, there is sometimes a chance that burrs may form along the edge of the cut extruded acrylic.
Burrs are small protrusions or rough spots at the edge of a cut surface due to improper flaking orbits and thermal fracturing that occurs during the laser-cutting process.
These issues are not present when cast acrylic is used instead—due to its higher seismic consistency and smoother finish; cast acrylic does not develop burrs or other anomalies when laser cutting is used.
As a result, for those applications where smooth edges are essential (such as in cases where components need to fit together perfectly), using cast acrylic rather than extruded can make all the difference.
One of the benefits unique to extruded acrylics is how easy it is to flame polish. Unlike other materials, such as glass or cast acrylic, the manufacturing process gives extruded acrylics a smooth surface that can be quickly buffed to a stunning shine using a standard gas torch.
This makes this type of plastic ideal for those looking to finish their project in less time without compromising on visual quality. The flame polishing process also eliminates any minor abrasions that may have obscured the finished product’s clarity, giving your item the unique beauty of polished plastics.
When it comes to high-end materials, it is essential to have high-impact resistance. This requirement applies to things such as protective equipment and parts that are regularly used outdoors.
Cast acrylic offers an ideal solution for this need due to its unmatched high-impact resistance and durability.
Compared to other materials, such as glass, cast acrylic can better withstand high-impact forces without sustaining breakage or surface damage. This makes it an excellent choice for heavy-duty items that must endure daily wear and tear.
The shatterproof quality of cast acrylic helps prevent pieces from becoming projectiles if the material does cause the material to fracture or break.
Cast acrylic is well-known for its chemical resistance, making it a smart choice for any application where chemical exposure is a concern. Compared to extruded acrylic, cast acrylic has superior chemical resistance and can maintain its physical properties with extended chemical contact.
Cast acrylic can withstand contact with lubricants, fuels, solvents, and acids without significant alteration or damage. This chemical durability extends beyond the surface; even when exposed to harsh chemicals over time, the internal chemical stability of cast acrylic ensures that it will remain resilient and will not be affected by chemical permeability.
Cast acrylic is often favored for its superior scratch resistance compared to extruded acrylic. This difference can be attributed to the way in which each material is manufactured.
Cast acrylic involves forcing molten liquid through a die, a process that creates an incredibly even and consistent material structure.
Extruded acrylic uses more volatile temperatures to push the material through dies of various shapes and sizes. While this results in a slightly lower-cost product, it often sacrifices durability—particularly when it comes to withstanding abrasive forces like scratches or scuffs.
Cast Acrylic Vs.Extruded Acrylic: Application
The Application Of Cast Acrylic
One of the oldest and most reliable uses of cast acrylic is in skylights. Allowing just the right amount of sunlight into a room helps conserve energy while creating a pleasant environment.
Cast acrylic can also make signage and displays, especially ones with precise shapes or intricate detail. Its impact-resistant nature makes it ideal for protecting artwork or merchandise, while its light transmittance allows bright colors to stay vibrant even after prolonged exposure to UV light.
The optical clarity of cast acrylic also makes it perfect for certain medical instruments such as endoscopes and eyepieces.
The Application Of Extruded Acrylic
Extruded acrylic can be used in architecture as window profiles or wall cladding.
The extreme clarity of extruded acrylic makes it an ideal choice for lighting lenses due to its light transmission capabilities. In the medical field, extruded acrylic offers strength and durability while still being easily machinable into custom shapes; this makes it an excellent material for orthopedic braces and prosthetic devices.
Extruded acrylic is also widely used in the automotive industry for interior and exterior parts due to its durability and resistance to UV rays.
By understanding the difference between cast and extruded acrylics, you can make a more informed decision about which type of product is right for your needs. If you need help deciding or would like to know more about our products, please visit our homepage or contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and help you find the perfect solution for your project.