Difference Between Cast and Extruded Acrylic
When you’re on the hunt for the perfect acrylic sheet for your next big project, you’re likely to encounter two main types: Cast Acrylic and Extruded Acrylic. While both are strong contenders, understanding their distinct characteristics can help you make an informed decision. Here’s everything you need to know:
Extruded Acrylic: The All-Rounder
Extruded Acrylic sheets are known for their consistent thickness, making them a go-to for general fabrication. Research shows they have a higher tolerance when heated or bent compared to Cast Acrylic, making them incredibly versatile. What’s more, they bond exceptionally well with solvent-based adhesives and are easier to flame polish.
- Greenhouse glazing
- Shed and garage windows
- Office screens and dividers
Cast Acrylic: The High-End Alternative
On the other hand, Cast Acrylic offers superior optical clarity and thermal stability. It’s also more resistant to solvents. While it is generally more expensive, it offers an unmatched surface finish, flatness, and optical properties. One point to note is that Cast Acrylic can have a sheet thickness variation of up to +/-10%.
- High-end displays
- Architectural installations
- Specialised industrial applications
|Features/Properties||Cast Acrylic||Extruded Acrylic|
|Scratch Resistance||High: More resistant to scratches.||Moderate: Less resistant to scratches.|
|Flame Polishing||Requires skill: Produces cleaner edges, but more time-consuming.||Simplified: Easier to achieve, but might not result in as clean of an edge.|
|Colour Options||Versatile: Available in a wide range of colours and thicknesses.||Limited: Fewer colours available, primarily standard options.|
|Thickness Tolerance||Varied: +/- 15% thickness variability.||Consistent: +/- 10% thickness variability.|
|Heat Bending||Challenging: Harder to bend or shape.||Adaptable: Easier to shape, but the outcome can vary depending on the bending direction and extrusion process.|
|Cutting Precision||Superior: Results in cleaner edges.||Basic: Edges may appear rough or inconsistent, especially depending on the direction of extrusion.|
|Melting Point||Higher: Can withstand more heat before deforming.||Lower: Begins to deform at a lower temperature compared to cast acrylic.|
|Cost||Premium: Generally more expensive due to its properties and manufacturing process.||Economical: More cost-effective, making it a popular choice for projects with budget constraints.|
|UV Stability||Excellent: Resistant to yellowing from UV rays.||Good: Offers UV resistance, but might not perform as well as cast acrylic in prolonged direct sunlight.|
|Clarity & Brilliance||Optimal: Superior optical clarity with a high level of light transmittance.||Good: Suitable for most applications, but might not offer the same level of brilliance and clarity as cast acrylic.|
|Chemical Resistance||Moderate: Resistant to many chemicals but can be affected by strong solvents.||Good: Generally resistant to common chemicals, but specific resistances may vary.|
|Weight||Slightly heavier due to its density.||Lighter: Often chosen for applications where weight is a concern.|
Extruded or Cast FAQ
Extruded acrylic is generally less expensive due to its simpler manufacturing process. However, the lower cost may come with trade-offs in certain features such as thickness consistency and thermal stability.
One of the easiest ways to distinguish between the two is by checking the thickness of the sheet. Extruded acrylic sheets have a more consistent thickness, whereas cast acrylic sheets may show slight variations. The surface finish and optical properties are also better in cast acrylic.
“Better” is subjective and depends on the application. Cast acrylic offers superior optical clarity and thermal stability, making it ideal for complex forms and high-end applications. Extruded acrylic, with its higher malleability and ease of flame polishing, is more suited for general fabrication.
Cast acrylic is incredibly durable and about ten times more impact-resistant than glass. Its strength makes it ideal for demanding environments where high durability is required.
- Superior optical clarity
- Excellent thermal stability
- Higher resistance to solvents
- Suited for intricate designs and high-end applications
- Consistent sheet thickness
- Higher tolerance to heating and bending
- Ease of flame polishing
Why Choose Our Extruded Acrylic?
Both types of acrylic offer excellent durability, UV stability, and are nearly shatter-proof. However, if you’re looking for a superior yet economical option, our Extruded Acrylic is the top choice for most applications.
Explore our range of premium Extruded Acrylic sheets and make your project stand out.
Cut Plastic Sheeting are based on the south Coast in Ivybridge, Devon UK. We have a full manufacturing facility which enables us to offer Cut To Size Acrylic as well as Cut To Size MDF. Shop our full range of products, including our Clear Acrylic, coloured acrylic and more recent MDF Wood Sheet ranges.
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