Altuglas International, MAM and PMMA experts
We find PMMA products everywhere in our environment. They are a part of our daily life, so why not take a closer look at what acrylic glass is made!
MMA: raw material of the PMMA
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is methyl ester from methacrylic acid, represented by the empirical chemical formula: C5H8O2 and semi-structural formula: CH2=C (CH3) CO2CH3.
MMA can be made using different industrial processes based on ethylene (C2), propylene (C3) or butylene-1 (C4) (petrochemical raw materials).
In Europe, MMA is made from acetone cyanohydrin (ACH), which is produced from acetone (C3) through a process called "ACH Process".
This monomer appears under the form of colourless syrup mainly used to produce transparent organic glass and plastic in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)!
Important physical features
- molar mass: 100 g/mol-1 (C 59.98%, H 8.05% and O 31.96%)
- boiling point at 105 Pa: 100.8°C
- melting point: - 48.2°C
- specific gravity at 20°C/density: 0.943 g/cm-3
- water solubility at 20°C: 1.6 g/l
- self-ignition temperature: 421°C
- flash point: 2°C covered / 10°C uncovered
- highly flammable
Methyl methacrylate MMA provides polymers with many benefits: stability, resistance, strength, radiance and durability.
It is not only used to make PMMA but also to improve products such as ink and paint.
The beginning of MMA
Ethyl methacrylate was first manufactured in 1865 by E. Frankland.
However, it was not until 1901 that Otto Röhm studied methyl methacrylate and its polymer (indeed, its double chemical bond makes it easily polymerizable and copolymerizable).
From MMA to PMMA
PMMA: polymethyl methacrylate or acrylic glass
PMMA is an engineered polymer. It is light, transparent, and easily transformed to create incredibly pure forms.
The clear and acrylic glass captures and reflects light. In addition to its remarkable optical features, it is easily used and preferred by architects and designers:
- saw or laser cutting
- thermoforming, etc.
- transparency: 90 to 92 % (clearer than glass)
- lightness: (two times lighter than glass)
- resistance: weather, aging, scratches, chemicals, UV, impact (specific grades)
- thermoforming ability: material softens when heated and becomes solid when cooled
- large selection of colours and textures
Its numerous properties allow for continuous industrial development.
Different PMMA forms
At Altuglas International, PMMA is found in several forms:
- sheet (cast or extruded) and blocks
Acrylic glass sheet
Sheet comes in all different forms, providing exceptional features (resistance, lightness and transparency):
- signs and displays
- urban furniture
- windows (construction and transportation)
Cast sheet is produced in batches and has a heavier molecular weight than extruded sheet, which is continuously manufactured. These processes give them different properties.
Cast sheet has a thickness ranging from 2 to 25mm and offers:
- different surface effects (glossy, mat, mono or dual satin or granite)
- a large selection of transparent and opaque colours
- special grades (impact, chemical, etc.)
Extruded sheet has a thickness ranging from 1.5 to 25mm and is available in transparent, opaque and black.
Cast sheet and blocks
Blocks are produced using the same process as cast acrylic sheet (per lot).
Thickness ranges from 30 to 110mm.
Acrylic glass resins
PMMA resin is designed for injection, extrusion or blow-molding. It meets both standard and more specific needs by providing the best long-term technical and marketing solutions for markets such as automotive, medical material and signing.
Reliable, efficient and easy to transform, it offers a wide selection of colours and effects compatible with additives and other plastics.