IAPD

January 2010 | Focus: Acrylic

Lighting up Mr. Chow Restaurant
REPRINTED FROM THE IAPD MAGAZINE

Three giant scalloped R-Cast™ acrylic features shine bright on the outside of the Mr. Chow Restaurant in Seoul, South Korea.

Three giant scalloped R-Cast™ acrylic features shine bright on the outside of the Mr. Chow Restaurant in Seoul, South Korea.

When the man who refers to himself as “The Famous Michael Chow” opened his first Mr. Chow Restaurant in London back in 1968, this self-designated “cultural ambassador” wanted to show Westerners two things: that Chinese cuisine was one of the remaining great cultural contributions of his China, and that it could be the centerpiece of an elegant restaurant.

When the “Famous Michael Chow” decided to create his Mr. Chow Seoul, he was already familiar with Reynolds Polymer Technology’s development, fabrication and application of acrylic. He ap­proached the company with his design and visited the company in Grand Junction, CO, USA, to learn more about the possibilities. While there, he shared his vision with Reynolds Polymer Technology engineers who explained in detail the flexibility and durability of acrylic and how it could assist in creating a variety of lighting effects. Working with Mr. Chow, his designers and lighting consultants, Reynolds Polymer brought his design to reality after approximately four months of back and forth communication.

The Mr. Chow Seoul Restaurant was designed with illuminated acrylic as the architectural forefront and interior. Giant scalloped acrylic features light and run the span of the outside of the restaurant, while the inside is laced with lighted acrylic squares, blocks and a host of other shapes of varying sizes. There are approximately 392 different acrylic panels in the restaurant weighing roughly 55,000 pounds, all illuminated. The three scalloped features lighting the outside of the restaurant are 37 feet tall with the end panels being 8 feet wide and the middle panel 12 feet wide. All of the pieces began as 4' x 8' sheets of acrylic. Read more.

This article was written by Reynolds Polymer Technology, Inc.


Impact-modified acrylics: bridging the performance gap
REPRINTED FROM THE IAPD MAGAZINE

This sign face was thermoformed from Tuf-Glas® CR (craze-resistant), a new high molecular weight, high impact acrylic manufactured by Spartech Plastics.

This sign face was thermoformed from Tuf-Glas® CR (craze-resistant), a new high molecular weight, high impact acrylic manufactured by Spartech Plastics.

We are all familiar with the stalwarts of the see-through plastics market; polycarbonate, acrylic and PETG; and for the most part, we know the best applications for each thermoplastic family. We evaluate the requirements of each job, weigh the key attributes of each product, and try to select the most cost-effective solution. And too often, the merits of extruded, impact-modified acrylics are ignored or forgotten. The last several years have seen vast strides in acrylic technology, from the basic chemistry to final fabrication.

Nearly every major acrylic producer offers some degree of impact enhanced resin and/or sheet. Impact acrylics found an early niche in the thermoformed backlit outdoor sign face market, bridging the gap between general purpose acrylics and polycarbonate. Inherently superior in UV-resistance to polycarbonate, the addition of rubber all but eliminated the handling and shop breakage associated with traditional acrylics, and greatly improved the forming and fabrication characteristics. When excellent weather resistance, formability and ease of fabrication, good toughness, clarity and scratch and chemical resistance are important, add a new/old product to your see-through selections — it could be the most cost-effective of all. Read more.

This article was written by by John Hirsch, Spartech Plastics.


Mirrored acrylic sheet
REPRINTED FROM THE IAPD MAGAZINE
Fabback® acrylic mirror from Plaskolite, Inc. is available in a variety of colors, thicknesses, sizes and textures.

Fabback® acrylic mirror from Plaskolite, Inc. is available in a variety of colors, thicknesses, sizes and textures.

The lightweight, fabrication versatility, increased strength and break resistance are just a few of the advantages acrylic mirror offers over glass mirror. Mirrored acrylic is 10 times more break resistant than glass mirror of equal thickness, allowing it be used in many applications where glass is not acceptable.

Depositing aluminum on the substrate creates a superior reflective surface. A paint backing is then applied over the aluminum for protection. The quality and durability of the paint used in this process is crucial to prevent scratching during shipping, handling and various fabrication techniques.

Additional backings on the substrate include paper masking and vinyl. These backings provide heightened protection in demanding fabrication processes. A pressure sensitive adhesive backing is also available replacing hand applied ad­hesives that can be difficult to apply and more likely to produce an un-uniformed adhesive coverage. Pressure sensitive ad­hesive backing is used in those applications where the mirror is mounted to a fixture or in a permanent setting. Read more.

This article was written by Jonda Baldwin, Plaskolite, Inc.


Acrylic fabrication beyond decorative
REPRINTED FROM THE IAPD MAGAZINE
Clear acrylic counting table used in the casino industry.

Clear acrylic counting table used in the casino industry.

Almost everyone is familiar with decorative acrylic fabricated items such as display cases, point-of-purchase displays and even furniture. Far fewer people envision the vast depth of possibilities in the use of acrylic for more industrial, or specialty commercial applications.
Perhaps one of the most common industrial applications is the use of acrylic to produce tanks. These tanks are used for trade show displays, research studies and as manufacturing equipment.

These cylindrical vessels are fabricated by heating the acrylic sheets in a large, hot air circulating oven and placing the components on molds that are covered with a material to prevent scratching and marking of the sheets. After cooling, the half cylinders, or half cones, are removed from the molds and cemented together. A re­inforcing strip is cemented over the joints. The outlet is a threaded coupling that was machined from a clear acrylic rod, and cemented to the center of the cone. The vessel is flanged between the cone and the cylinder. This is where the tank will rest on a metal support ring. For circumferential strength, a flange is also cemented around the top of the cylinder. Read more.

This article was written by Alvin Notowich, PLASTICO.


Introduction to acrylic
REPRINTED FROM IAPD's INTRODUCTION TO PLASTICS

Acrylic thermoplastics (PMMA) are products of polymerization of acrylic esters. The materials are available in cast sheet, continuous cast and extruded sheet, film and a number of small pellets for injection molding and extrusion. Tubes and rods can also be cast or extruded.

Cell-cast sheet is produced in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. The largest sheets available are 120" × 144". Thicknesses range from 0.030" to 4.25". Continuous cast material is supplied as flat sheet and in coils in lengths to 600' and widths to 110". Maximum thickness is ½". Acrylic sheet cast in the continuous process (between stainless steel belts) is more uniform in thickness than cell-cast sheet. Cell-cast sheet, on the other hand, which is cast between glass plates, has superior optical properties and surface qualities. Also, cell-cast sheet is offered in a greater variety of colors and compositions. Cast acrylic sheet is supplied in general-purpose grades and in ultraviolet absorbing, mirrored and superthermoformable sheet grades.


Test Your Knowledge

What do you know about acrylic? (Answers are at www.iapd.org/popquiz.html.)

1. Acrylic is a member of which product group?

a. semi-crystalline commodity thermoplastic
b. amorphous engineering thermoplastic
c. semi-crystalline engineering thermoplastic
d. amorphous commodity thermoplastic

2.  Acrylic has good inherent ultraviolent reistance, but which of the following materials has the best?

a. acrylic
b. polycarbonate
c. polystyrene
d. PVC

Sponsored by

Kydex LLC

In this issue

Lighting up Mr. Chow Restaurant
Acrylic offers flexibility and creativity in restaurant design.

Impact-modified acrylics: bridging the performance gap
Impact acrylics have proven effective in many new applications.

Mirrored acrylic sheet
Acrylic is stronger and safer than glass.

Acrylic fabrication beyond decorative
Acrylic finds a niche in industrial and specialty commercial applications.

Introduction to acrylic
The basics of this versatile material.

Test your knowledge
What do you know about acrylic?

About IAPD
The International Association of Plastics Distribution, founded in 1956, is an international trade association comprised of companies engaged in the distribution and manufacture of plastics materials.

Members include plastics distributors, processors, manufacturers, resin manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives and associated products and services, all of whom are dedicated to the distribution channel. Visit www.iapd.org for more information.
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Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.
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