shelves full of plastic and other materials in our distribution se

The Clear Plastics – Acrylic, Polycarbonate, and PETG

Erie Industrial Plastics consistently stocks acrylic, polycarbonate, and PETG in a variety of thicknesses and colors. Our experienced staff can help you select which material is best for your application and offer insight on edge finishing, mechanical or adhesive fastening systems, hardware, and even cleaning products.

Benefits of Acrylic

Acrylic sheet is offered in wide variety of colors, surface finishes, thicknesses, and sheet sizes. It also can be purchased in rod and tube form for special projects. The surface of acrylic is relatively hard and resists scratching under moderate conditions. It can be bent, laser-cut, engraved, polished, and glued with great ease and optimum aesthetic value.

Acrylic is commonly used in sheet form for signage and glazing applications but because of its outstanding fabrication characteristics is also a favorite for display cases, literature racks, machine covers, candy bins, POP displays, and more.

Benefits of Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is the most impact-resistant thermoplastic used in the glazing and signage markets. It comes in variety of sheet sizes and thicknesses to meet a wide range of industry demands. There are a few colors and finishes available to choose from, but the selection is more limited compared to acrylic. Polycarbonate can be machined, bent, glued, and mechanically fastened to produce machine guards and other enclosures; however, due to its composition, polycarbonate is not an ideal material to thermoform or polish.

Erie Industrial Plastics produces hundreds of polycarbonate machine guards every year for all types of businesses. Let us help you put safety first with free design advice on your next guarding application.

Benefits of PETG

Like acrylic, PETG is a clear thermoplastic sheet that is commonly used for fabricated products. It is easily cut, machined, and glued for assembly and also can be thermoformed to produce very detailed and uniquely designed parts. It is softer than acrylic, making it more vulnerable to scratching, but it has greater impact strength to resist breakage. It’s mix of strength, clarity, and ease of fabrication make it an ideal choice for machine guards, equipment covers, and POP displays.

Acrylic is a thermoplastic material with outstanding strength and stiffness that is easy to fabricate, bonds well, and is easy to thermoform for durable signs, fixtures, displays and more.

Technical Data Sheet – Acrylic (Polymethyl Methacrylate / PMMA)

Acrylic (PMMA) is a transparent thermoplastic material with outstanding strength, stiffness, and optical clarity. Acrylic sheet is easy to fabricate, bonds well with adhesives and solvents, and is easy to thermoform. It has superior weathering properties compared to other transparent plastics. Acrylic sheet exhibits glass-like qualities – clarity, brilliance, and transparency – but at half the weight and many times the impact resistance of glass. It also comes in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and textures. From durable signs and skylights to eye-catching retail store fixtures, displays, and shelves, acrylic provides outstanding versatility, durability, and aesthetic qualities.

Acrylic Material Options

  • Extruded vs. Cast Acrylic – Extruded acrylic is the easiest grade of acrylic to thermoform and bond and is cheaper than most cast acrylic. Cast acrylic sheet has better chemical resistance, superior machining characteristics, and often greater optical clarity. Both types come in a variety of sheet sizes, colors, and finishes, but cast acrylic typically has greater versatility, such as UV-resistant, impact-modified, and mirrored grades.
  • Acrylic for Architectural Applications– Acrylic’s clarity, light weight, impact resistance, and weather resistance make it a popular choice for architectural applications. Some examples include windows, wall partitions, lighting fixtures, and canopies. Acrylic is naturally UV- and weather-resistant but sheeting with additional UV protection and mar-resistant coatings are available.
  • Acrylic for Transportation Applications– Acrylic is used throughout the transportation industry for instrument panels, windows, windshields, and mirrors.
  • FDA Compliant Acrylic– Acrylic is available in FDA-compliant grades.
  • Acrylic Rod and Tube– Acrylic rod and tube are available in a wide range of sizes in both cast and extruded grades.
  • Cut-to-Size Acrylic Sheet– Acrylic is available in a variety of sizes, including “cut-to-size” sheet options. Optimize your order with us to save time, eliminate scrap, improve productivity, and reduce wear and tear on your equipment.


Acrylic Applications

  • Indoor and outdoor signs
  • POP displays and exhibits
  • Architectural glazing and skylights
  • LED diffusing lighting panels
  • Transportation – aircraft, boats, mass transit, and vehicles
  • Shelves, brochure holders, and retail fixtures
  • Transparent manifolds

Performance Characteristics

  • Strong, stiff, optically clear
  • Easy to fabricate, machine, and thermoform
  • Easy to solvent bond
  • Good dimensional stability
  • Good weatherability

Acrylic Properties Chart

Tensile strength psi D638 10,500
Flexural Modulus 10^5 psi D790 4.5
Impact Strength, Izod ft-lbs/in of notch D256 0.4
Heat deflection temperature @ 264 psi °F D648 198
Coefficient of thermal expansion 10^5 in/in-℃ D696 3.6
Water absorption (1/8” thick, 24 hours) % D570 0.3
Refractive Index   D542 1.49
Light transmittance % D1003 92

Values may vary. Please ask your Erie Industrial Plastics representative for more specific information.