Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), also known as acrylic or acrylic glass as well as by the trade names Plexiglas, Acrylite, Lucite, and Perspex among several others, is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. The same material can be utilised as a casting resin, in inks and coatings, and has many other uses.
Although not a type of familiar silica-based glass, the substance, like many thermoplastics, is often technically classified as a type of glass hence its occasional historic designation as acrylic glass. Chemically, it is the synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate. The material was developed in 1928 in several different laboratories by many chemists, such as William Chalmers, Otto Röhm and Walter Bauer, and was first brought to market in 1933 by the Rohm and Haas Company under the trademark Plexiglas.
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. Additionally, PMMA does not contain the potentially harmful bisphenol-A subunits found in polycarbonate. 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.
Acrylic paint essentially consists of PMMA suspended in water; however since PMMA is hydrophobic, a substance with both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups needs to be added to facilitate the suspension.Modern furniture makers, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, seeking to give their products a space age aesthetic, incorporated Lucite and other PMMA products into their designs, especially office chairs. Many other products (for example, guitars) are sometimes made with acrylic glass to make the commonly opaque objects translucent.Acrylic Sheets are produced in dozens of standard colours, most commonly sold using colour numbers developed by Rohm & Haas in the 1950s