Acrylic is a trademark name of Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
Other names are Plexiglas, Perspex, Plazcryl, Acrylite, Acrylplast, Altuglas, R-Cast, Polycast and Lucite. But is commonly called acrylic glass or simply acrylic.
The material is often used as an alternative to glass as it is lighter, has a higher impact strength than glass, transmits more light (up to 93% of visible light) than glass and will not shatter.
- However it is softer and more easily scratched than glass.
Acrylic Sheet are used to build aquariums and it can be moulded to make plastic aquariums of non-rectangle shapes.
When owning an acrylic aquarium care must be taken to use only mechanical algae removers that state they are suitable for use on plastic otherwise scratches will occur.
Over time the outer surface of the tank will dull due to the build up of scratches and the action of weak acids in the oil of the human skin or detergents.
- In commercial large aquariums they will often place a second thin sheet of acrylic in front of the tank so that the smears and scratches caused by visitors repeating touching the tank can be cheaply replaced by swapping out this second sheet.