How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan so they can be utilized appropriately at different Areas

At first glance, Plastic, Acrylic, and Lexan can appear deceivingly similar, especially to homeowners and DIY builders unfamiliar with the differences between the three materials. However, there are a variety of important differences between them —namely, how they are manufactured, what projects they should be used for, and price. Carefully consider the key differences between plastic, acrylic, and Lexan in order to determine the best material to use for your property and budget! 

How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan

A Brief History of the Materials

How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan
  • Lexan: Lexan is a polycarbonate substitute for glass first invested in 1953. It was used by NASA for astronaut helmets starting in the early 1960s, and since then, has been used in a variety of other important projects. It was designed to be incredibly tough and durable, able to withstand intense stress and pressure. You can check this Plexiglass vs Polycarbonate guide for the deep understanding.
  • Plastic: Plastic has been used throughout history since 1855 when Alexander Parkes created one of the earliest known polymers. However, modern plastic as we know it today was created in 1907. Plastic has a wide variety of uses throughout our daily life. 
  • Acrylic: Acyclic is a glass-substitute first developed in 1928 and was used heavily during World War II (WW2). Acrylic is lightweight, flexible, and commonly used in signage, glazing, and more. 

Differences How They Are Manufactured 

How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan
  • Lexan: Lexan is manufactured through a chemical process of combining Bisphenol A with carbonyl chloride. The substance is then cut into sheets of different widths. 
  • Plastic: Plastics are made from a variety of different natural materials, like coal and natural gas that have been refined into a different form. Different chemical compounds are added to the crude oil in order to create different plastic compounds. 
  • Acrylic: Acrylic is made through a process called bulk polymerization, where different compounds are poured into a cast and allowed to chemically interact. The material then sets into the shape of the cast. 

Merits and Demerits of Each Materials


How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan

Both Lexan and acrylic are created using plastics. Therefore, plastic, by itself, is not a substitute for glass, but rather a key component used to manufacture the substitutes. However, there are a variety of differences between Lexan and acrylic that are worth noting. Each plastic-based material offers different advantages and disadvantages for homeowners to consider. 


How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan
  • Pros of Lexan:
  • can handle high temperatures
  • high impact resistance
  • not flammable
  • strong and durable
  • resistant to acids
  • Cons of Lexan:
  • easy to be scratched
  • more expensive
  • yellowed by UV rays over time
  • dents easier
  • lower level of clarity


How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan
  • Pros of Acrylic:
  • shiny and transparent
  • comparatively inexpensive
  • resistant to UV rays
  • high clarity that can be restored through polishing
  • available in a variety of colors
  • less prone to scratches compared to other plastic materials
  • Cons of Acrylic:
  • rigid and easy to crack when drilled
  • more likely to chip
  • not heat resistant
  • less durable than lexan

Differences in Application

How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan

The three materials are each used in a variety of different applications. Lexan is used in situations requiring strong, heavy-duty durability, such as in bulletproof windows or armored vehicles. Acrylic is used as a substitute to glass in signs, windows, and lenses due to its clear, transparent quality. Plastic is the most widely prolific option and is used for a variety of everyday situations. While it is more flexible than the other materials, it is cheap and highly convenient. However, when used as a substitute for glass, it is only used as a component to create both Lexan and acrylic glass-substitutes. 

Comparing Differences in Price

How to Differentiate Plastic, Acrylic and Lexan

The price of plastic-based acrylic and Lexan range depending on the thickness and strength of the material, as well as a number of other features. However, generally, Lexan is the best option, followed by acrylic. Plastic it is not available to be used as a replacement for glass; instead, it is merely a component used to create the other materials.  On average, a sheet of Lexan costs about 35% more than a sheet of acrylic.

Final Thoughts:

Plastic-based acrylic and Lexan can be useful and well-suited to a variety of different projects, as long as you are aware of the difference and advantages of using each unique material. Regardless of the material you end up deciding to use in your property, it is undeniably essential to select the best vendor to purchase your supplies.

Glass Genius is an online marketplace that specializes in providing glass and glass-related materials, such as Lexan and acrylic, at the lowest possible price. Its unique platform easily connects buyers with a wide variety of different sellers of plastic and acrylic sheets. No matter the project or the material, Glass Genius is the best place to find all of your glass-related products. 


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