Acrylic and glass are popular materials for photo frames, windows, and advertisements. Despite being used as substitutes for one another, they are structurally different and offer unique advantages.
Acrylic is more shatter-resistant and stronger than glass, making it an excellent option for jewelry display cases. However, glass is manufactured with stable, heat-resistant materials, making it more durable when temperatures fluctuate. It is also more translucent, allowing light to pass through it easier than acrylic.
Whether you need a protective frame for wedding photographs or a clear storefront acrylic window, it’s important to know which materials to choose for your project. From the price difference to the strength difference, take a look at whether acrylic or glass is a better option for your needs.
What is Acrylic?
Acrylic is a type of plastic, also referred to as plexiglass. Shatterproof acrylic glass is strong and doesn’t break easily. Despite its durability, acrylic can break. However, it typically splits into large pieces when it does, making it safer than glass for construction projects.
Acrylic is used frequently to create partitions on building sites or outside restaurants and cafes. It also has a high level of chemical resistance, making it suitable for use in laboratories or manufacturing plants.
Acrylic comes in various colors and opacities. Depending on your needs, you can purchase colored or clear acrylic in different thickness levels. You can select your shape and color for certain applications, making acrylic highly adaptable. It’s also possible to manufacture acrylic in various finishes, including frosted, mirrored, and transparent.
What is it used for?
One of the main advantages of using acrylic is its lightweight. For projects that require you to be conscious about weight, it is an excellent choice. For example, acrylic sheets are often used for making windows for motorhomes or boats. Acrylic is also used frequently for constructing aquariums or roof lights.
Acrylic sheets can be processed to create custom advertising materials or DIY items like nameplates or plaques. Alternatively, printed acrylic is a popular material for making art pieces and creative displays. Because of its durability, signs or displays made from acrylic can stand the test of time. They are weather-resistant and stand up to scratches and exposure to UV rays.
Other popular applications of acrylic include:
- Medical devices
- Security screens
- Fiber optic cables
- Vehicle windows
- Greenhouse panels
- Retail signs
- Commercial displays
What is Glass?
Glass is made from natural raw materials that are melted down to form a transparent solid. Although glass has structural similarities to liquids, it functions as a solid material at ambient temperatures. Glass is brittle, hard, and impervious to the elements.
What is it used for?
Glass is a useful material that serves many purposes across a wide range of industries. It’s commonly used for:
- Houses and buildings
Glass components are also used in electronics, building insulation, and even medical diagnostic equipment. Since the material is so easy to form into any shape, glass is highly versatile.
Acrylic vs. Glass Comparison Chart
While the properties of each material are similar, the subtle differences can make a significant difference when accumulated. The following chart compares the materials in more detail, focusing on the benefits of each.
|Visual Qualities||– Translucent, frosted, mirrored, and anti-reflective options|
– Available in various colors
– Available in various opacities
|– Translucent, frosted, reflective, and tinted options|
– Crystal clear
|Resistance and Durability||– Stronger than regular glass|
– Resistant to UV and sunlight
– Resistant to chemicals
|– Damaged easily|
– Breaks into sharp pieces that can damage encased items or cause injury
– Glass is heavier than acrylic, increasing the risk of damage
|Transportation||– Easy to transport due to lightweight and durability||– Requires heavier packaging due to fragility and weight|
– May need support for mounting large glass items
– Heavier weight makes it difficult to move
|Protective Qualities||– Protects products, photos, artwork, and people from light scratching and loose debris (dust)|
– Some UV protection is available
– Stronger than regular glass
– Adaptable and moldable for various applications
|– Can protect products, photos, and artwork from light scratching and loose debris (dust)|
– Available with UV protection
|Costs||– More expensive than glass but costs less to ship||– Less expensive than acrylic but more expensive to ship due to weight|
Choosing the Right Materials
Plastic Zone has provided premium quality acrylic sheets for more than three decades. Using state-of-the-art lasers and CNC technology, we can create precise and flawless acrylic sheets cuts for a range of industries. Our warehouse of acrylic sheets is stocked full of quality materials in various colors and finishes, including smokey and translucent options. View our full selection of color swatches to see which is right for you.
Whether you’re looking for large acrylic sheets for a construction project or you need custom fabrication for display cases, get in touch with Plastic Zone. Our team of in-house engineers can help you with the design process and acrylic fabrication. Our fully-certified facility complies with industry standards, and we implement comprehensive quality control measures to produce a superior acrylic product every time.
Order acrylic sheets online or fill out our application form for a free quote. We also offer wholesale pricing options.