Sunday, October 21, 2012

USES OF PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate/Plexiglas)

Polymethyl methacrylate is a transparent and rigid thermoplastic glass, a synthetic resin produced from the polymerization of methyl methacrylate. It is an ester of meth acrylic acid obtained principally from propylene a compound refined from lighter fractions of crude oil. It is used as a substitute to glass in cases such as skylights, illuminated signs and shatterproof windows among others and sold under the trademark of Plexiglas.

Plexiglas refers to the trademark under which the light transparent weather resistant thermoplastic fall. It has many uses known including glass substitutes for construction of residential and commercial aquariums. The glass provides a transparent see through surface to view the aqua life and more effective. Plexiglas comes in handy in sporting events and used to build the spectator protection rings. In ice hockey the PMMA is used to make the rinks.

In the motor world, Plexiglas uses the technology of PMMA to improve the designs on aircrafts windows, enabling iconic designs such as bombardier`s transparent nose compartment in the aircraft Boeing flying fortress. Plexiglas uses the technology to also make viewing ports in the submersibles and even the complete pressure hulls in them. This was used and applied in the Alicia submarine to view the sphere. A police vehicle in riot control uses Plexiglas technology having the regular glass replaced with the acrylic present in the PMMA to protect against objects being thrown at them.

It is also used in daylight redirection. Plexiglas uses the technology to redirect light using panels to turn a light pipe, or tubular skylight and spread it evenly in a room. A panel acting as light shelves are used with definite reflective and refractive properties, at a correct angle of incidence spreads the rays evenly over a given area. This can be used for same purpose as windows and canopy, leading to higher illumination of a given room. It can also be used in greenhouses as a good source of UV rays onto the plants.

Medically, Plexigas uses the PMMA which has a high compatibility degree with the human tissue. It is used in the replacement of intraocular lenses in the eye in case of any faults with the original one. In orthopedic surgery, bone cement made from PMMA is used to affix implants and also in remodeling the lost bone. Dentally the PMMA is used to refill teeth with a color matching to the patients' teeth and gum. Other medical uses include in cosmetic surgery to reduce wrinkles and scars in which biological fluid is injected under the skin.

PMMA in artistic and aesthetic world is used in modern furniture. Guitars, piano and office chairs to cover and make the opaque objects translucent. Diasec is a process that uses acrylic acid as substitute for the normal glass in picture framing. Plexiglas uses this method given it is low cost, shatter resistant, aesthetics and comes in bigger larger size for standard picture framing.

Plexiglas uses the technology of the PMMA for other wide range of uses including making the neon signs, where cut out letters from the sheet to represent company`s names and logos. It is also used as dispersant to stabilize colloidal suspensions in ceramic powders. The technology used in roofing and waterproofing applications, gives a membrane construction flexible and resistant to tear and puncture. Artificial fingernails are sometimes made from acrylic an important component in the PMMA.

Resource Box

Dimitris Petropoulos has been in the field of plexiglas for a long time and maintains a website about pmma where you can get answers to the rest of your questions.

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