Poly(methyl methacrylate)

Transparent thermoplastic, commonly called acrylic / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) belongs to a group of materials called engineering plastics. It is a transparent thermoplastic. PMMA is also known as acrylic, acrylic glass, as well as by the trade names and brands Crylux, Plexiglas, Acrylite, Astariglas, Lucite, Perclax, and Perspex, among several others (see below). This plastic is often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It can also be used as a casting resin, in inks and coatings, and for many other purposes.

Quick facts: Names, Identifiers, Properties...
Poly(methyl methacrylate)
Names
IUPAC name
Poly(methyl 2-methylpropenoate)
Other names
  • Poly(methyl methacrylate)
  • PMMA
  • Methyl methacrylate resin
  • Perspex
Identifiers
3D model (JSmol)
ChemSpider
  • None
ECHA InfoCard 100.112.313
KEGG
UNII
  • CCC(C)(C(=O)OC)CC(C)(C(=O)OC)CC(C)(C(=O)OC)CC(C)(C(=O)OC)CC(C)(C(=O)OC)C
Properties
(C5O2H8)n
Molar mass Varies
Density 1.18 g/cm3[1]
Melting point 160 °C (320 °F; 433 K)[2]
−9.06×10−6 (SI, 22 °C)[3]
1.4905 at 589.3 nm[4]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Lichtenberg figure: high-voltage dielectric breakdown in an acrylic polymer block

Although not a type of familiar silica-based glass, the substance, like many thermoplastics, is often technically classified as a type of glass, in that it is a non-crystalline vitreous substance—hence its occasional historic designation as acrylic glass. Chemically, it is the synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate. It was developed in 1928 in several different laboratories by many chemists, such as William Chalmers, Otto Röhm, and Walter Bauer, and first brought to market in 1933 by German Röhm & Haas AG (as of January 2019, part of Evonik Industries) and its partner and former U.S. affiliate Rohm and Haas Company under the trademark Plexiglas.[5]

PMMA is an economical alternative to polycarbonate (PC) when tensile strength, flexural strength, transparency, polishability, and UV tolerance are more important than impact strength, chemical resistance, and heat resistance.[6] Additionally, PMMA does not contain the potentially harmful bisphenol-A subunits found in polycarbonate and is a far better choice for laser cutting.[7] It is often preferred because of its moderate properties, easy handling and processing, and low cost. Non-modified PMMA behaves in a brittle manner when under load, especially under an impact force, and is more prone to scratching than conventional inorganic glass, but modified PMMA is sometimes able to achieve high scratch and impact resistance.