Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), also known as acrylic or acrylic glass, is a transparent and rigid thermoplastic material widely used as a shatterproof replacement for glass. PMMA has many technical advantages over other transparent polymer (PC, polystyrene etc.), few of them include:
– High resistance to UV light and weathering,
– Excellent light transmission
– Unlimited coloring options
PMMA is an economical alternative to polycarbonate (PC) when high toughness and impact strength is not required. It comes in a variety of forms, such as sheets, rods, and tubes, and is used for signs, optical fibers for light transmission, architectural structures, taillights for cars, bathtubs and sanitary fixtures, to name only a few products. A larger number of other polymethacrylates are commercially available. However, the total production volume is rather small compared to PMMA. These polymers are used in a variety of products, including elastomers, coatings, and semi-crash resistant adhesives.
For example, poly(cyclohexyl methacrylate) finds uses in adhesives, binders, and coatings. Its glass transition temperature is similar to poly(methyl methacrylate). Another important methacrylate polymer is poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (HEMA). It is used in contact lenses, drug delivery systems, dental adhesives, and for several other biomedical applications. Many other methacrylic monomers are commercially available and are used as building blocks to make a wide range of polymer-based products like binders in paints, coatings, toners, inks, and water-soluble polymers.