Monday, October 15, 2012

Acrylic Use in Art

Artists often prefer the fancier sounding "Perspex" or "Lucite" brand names to describe their acrylic art materials.  Maybe this is also to avoid confusion with acrylic paint. Nevertheless, acrylic remains both a classic and contemporary material for new and established artists. Check out these great examples:

    Gray Acrylic --> Larry Bell, Untitled, 1969

    Anish Kapoor Untitled, 2008.
    Stainless steel,169 x 160,5 x 63 cm.
    Untitled, Acrylic cube, 70 x 70 x 69,5 cm.
    Photo. Fabrice Seixas. 
    Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Plexiglass smells like a dead animal?

WTH? Plexiglass smells like a dead animal?

This I have never heard of until last week when I get a call from Ralph on Long Island. He wants to purchase Plexiglas acrylic sheet BUT he heard it smells like my friend here.....

"Google it" he says.

In all the 44 years in plastics I have experienced some crazy calls.This is heresy. Plexiglas smells? Well, when you cut freshly made acrylic it DOES have a fragrance - the PMMA is kinda sweet but not like a dead animal. Or a skunk.

This is the part where I kneel down and say....  "I love the smell of PMMA in the morning.... it smells!"

And then I remembered a noxious smell from my first days on the job in 1968 - counting inventory as a 14 year old. I was told to count the celluose acetate butyrate materials. The closer I got, the more sickening the odor of something nearby. I grabbed the butyrate tubing and took a whiff. "This smells like dog poop" I exclaimed to the others. "The new guy always has to count that stuff" they said.

So it turns out that CAB (the acronym) for cellulose acetate butyrate is the Pepe LePU of the plastics industry.

I hope this officially clear the bad rep Plexiglas got on this subject....

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lucite EcoShade IR reflective acrylic sheet

Now this is WAY COOL. No puns. Lucite has a new product for use in skylights and other window glazing. I quote:


A new product, IR reflective acrylic sheet is a continuous cast acrylic sheet containing an innovative component distributed uniformly throughout the material. This aspect means that the component will not heat or form out of the material.


IR reflective acrylic sheet will effectively reduce heat transmitted through windows and skylights during the summer months. This ground-breaking technology also reduces heat lost during the winter.


IR reflective acrylic sheet also appeals to the design community because of its pleasing aesthetics. The iridescent effect compliments many modern designs from fashion to architecture. The technology in IR reflective acrylic sheet often evokes feelings associate with happiness and comfort. These calming effects are due in part to the color reaction exhibited when IR reflective acrylic sheet transforms from serene blue to glistening gold based on the angle of view and light surroundings.


Lowers energy costs
Protects furniture from fading
Iridescent color effect
Designer and architect preferred
Aesthetically appealing

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plexiglas Acrylic Mirror sheet applications

Plexiglas acrylic mirror in sheets - when to use which thickness?

This little post will save you a lot of grief and money. Plastic mirror is really a "reflective surface". It's not as rigid as glass, so it must be mounted FLAT to give a nice consistent reflective surface.

Most mirror is considered a SECOND SURFACE MIRROR. That means the FIRST surface is the front of the clear substrate, and the aluminum coating that makes the "mirror" is on the SECOND surface. So you get a little "ghosting" from the reflection off the first or front surface.

When you mount acrylic mirrors, the wall must be FLAT or the acrylic will bend to fit into the dips and bumps. From a few feet away, it's not too bad. From 10ft you look like Godzilla. From 30ft you look like - well, you're a blob in the reflection.

Now, if you take the time to prepare the wall, smoothing the bump out, you'll be much happier. You must use the thicker 1/4" thick mirror for a reasonable outcome. The thinner 1/8" acrylic mirror is great for small applications up to say 16x16, and for close use. You cannot expect 1/8" mirror to look good in a dance studio, or full length dressing mirror.

That said, the beauty of acrylic mirror is that it's 1/2 the weight of glass, and is very difficult to break. So whether it's a gym, dance studio, or mental hospital (yes, really) it's a great material for a very specific application.

The are some variations on the mirrors.. there are a range of stock color, and by special order, you can get 2-way (see-thru) mirror for interrogations, and FIRST surface mirror which ends up being a double sided mirror. There's a lot of laser-cutting of mirrors for front license plates, and even jewelry! More on 2-way or "see-through" mirrors in a later post!