Plastic, plexiglass, PC glass, Hammerglass... What is what?

For decades, plastic sheets have generally been called plexiglass in everyday speech. But is this really the correct name? There are several types of plastic - and not all can be plexiglass. And what is Hammerglass then? We sort out the concepts!

What is Hammerglass®?

Hammerglass® is a durable and optically clear polycarbonate sheet, 300 times stronger than glass – and virtually unbreakable. Hammerglass screens are coated with a hard layer of silicon oxide which protects against scratches and wear and tear. The surface coating also provides 99.96% UV protection, which prevents Hammerglass screens from clouding or becoming discoloured over time. Hammerglass does not contribute to the spread of flames in case of fire.

What is polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate (PC) is a tough, transparent thermoplastic of exceptional durability. Polycarbonate is marketed under the brand names Hammerglass, Lexan, Makrolon, Saphir and more. The difference between the various makes and brands of polycarbonate lies among other things in the purity and surface coatings of the sheets. Without a surface coating PC is easily scratched and will also begin to yellow within six months. Many surface coatings primarily provide protection against yellowing.

What is Plexiglas®?

Plexiglas® is one of several brand names for the acrylic plastic polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). However, in common parlance the term "plexiglass" is very frequently (and mistakenly) used to refer to plastic sheets in general. Plexiglas® is about 30 times stronger than ordinary glass, but sensitive to scratches and solvents. Plexiglas® will burn.

What is acrylic plastic?

Acrylic plastic is a term for the thermoplastic polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), which is marketed under trade names such as Bonoplex, Perspex and Plexiglas. Acrylic plastic is sensitive to acids, acetone and other solvents. Acrylic plastic can be distinguished from Hammerglass by the fact that, when prised or subjected to blows, it will crack - unlike Hammerglass which bends without any crack formation. Furthermore acrylic plastic will burn, whereas Hammerglass is self-extinguishing when ignited.

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