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What is Plexiglass? And Why Should you Care?
^ This is the chemical symbol for poly(methyl methacrylate) (“PMMA”), also known, specifically for the purpose of this post, as: plexiglass…unless it’s the zodiacal symbol for the planet Uranus, or it’s that quiz question in geometry I always failed, or…wait, no, that’s the cover of my favorite Prince album. Okay, it’s plexiglass. Final answer. PMMA, as if it were some international material of mystery, is known by many names: Lucite, acrylic, Perspex, acrylate, and plexiglass, to list a few. Regardless of what you may call it, PMMA, discovered and created in the early 1930’s separately in both the United Kingdom and Germany, is a transparent thermoplastic that is used as a shatter-resistant alternative to glass, in a wide variety of applications, treatments, and mediums. When PMMA is modified with additives or fillers, it then takes on differing features. For our social distancing product lines here at Cutplex, we utilize anti-reflection plexiglass.
In the most basic form of an explanation, so far, we have covered that Plexiglass is a glass alternative, made from a plastic. So, as we are asking in our post title, why should you care? Why care about something that by its stated purpose isn’t something else? Fine, let’s talk about its uses then. One of the first uses of plexiglass was in the canopy of fighter planes in World War II. Plexiglass has been used as viewing ports and pressure hulls in deep-sea submersibles. It is commonly used for constructing both in the home and large-scale commercial public aquariums. It is an important material in manufacturing lighthouse lenses. It was used in the ceiling of the Houston Astrodome, which apparently was nominated as one of the many candidates for the 8th Wonder of the World. Due to its degree of compatibility with human tissue (!) it is used in intraocular lenses, which are implanted in the human eye during cataract surgery, and it is widely used to create artificial teeth and denture implants. Acrylic paint is basically just a water-suspension of plexiglass. Salvador Dali once even painted directly onto a plexiglass canvas! Plexiglass, under the trade name Lucite, was a very popular jewelry material, creating iconic fashion trends that carry through to today. Plexiglass was used in making Laserdiscs! Remember those?! No? It is used in semiconductor research as a resistant, and can block beta radiation from radioisotopes. John Bonham of Led Zeppelin played a plexiglass drum set called Vistalites. They make shoes and guitars out of it. Fake nails. Eyeglass lenses. Brake light covers. Bullet-proof barriers, building windows, skylights. I have a lucite Monopoly game at home- it’s neon and glows in the dark. Oh, and it also just so happens that you can make social distancing partitions, barriers, and sneeze guards out of plexiglass.
Now that we have established what plexiglass is, and all the many ways it is used, we can safely and confidently answer the directive questions in the title of this blog.
Question: What is plexiglass?
Answer: Plexiglass is awesomesauce. As an aside, I can type awesomesauce and my auto correct feature ignores it, thereby telling me that there is no spelling correction needed. I looked it up, it’s in the Oxford Dictionary. However, they seemed to have forgotten to put in the picture of the plexiglass. I’m emailing them now. All caps.
Next question: And why should you care? I know it is bad form to answer a question with a question but…
Answer: Are you telling me you don’t care about awesomesauce?
Here at CutPlex, with our innovative CrystalFlex Plexiglass Alternative, we take this not glass awesomesauce and we harness it, we channel it, into the cost-effective, sturdy, aesthetically pleasing social distancing solutions that help keep your place of business running at closer to full-tilt in these unprecedented times, while protecting your employees, guests, customers…and yourselves. Here at CutPlex, every time we look through one of our partitions, we don’t just see “not glass.” We don’t just see plastic. We see aquariums, jewelry, fighter planes and submarines; we see the Astrodome, a Dali, we see a light across the bay…and dentures. So go ahead, care. Care about poly(methyl methacrylate), and let it feel good. Get the chemical symbol tattooed on your forearm and never regret it. See you on the other side of the partition.