Why Is Plexiglass So Expensive (7 Compelling Reasons)

Amongst synthetical engineered glass, Plexiglass stands out from the crowd. It is widely used in several industries such as automotive, construction, medical, biotechnology, and advertising. 

The only thing that holds consumers from purchasing Plexiglass is its price. Compared to glass, Plexiglass costs much more, so buyers often hesitate before making buying decisions. 

Why is Plexiglass so expensive? In this article, we will explain the reasons behind the expensiveness of Plexiglass. We also advise viewers how to choose high-quality Plexiglass at a reasonable price.

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Overview Of Plexiglass

What is Plexiglass?

Plexiglass was invented in the nineteenth century by Otto Rohm, meant to increase the resistance of glass to the external environment. 

Plexiglass is not glass. In fact, it is artificial plastic. The compounds to make Plexiglass are polymers of methyl methacrylate, an ester of methacrylic acid. Therefore, it has the scientific name is PMMA, which means polymethylmethacrylate – its main composition. 

Plexiglas is the official trade name. Besides, this plastic is also known with other trade names such as Perspex, Acrylite, and Altuglas. Plexiglass’ names vary from country to country. In Japan, it is called Acripet. The British name of Plexiglass is Diakon.

An advanced variant of Acrylic

When reading the above part, many may be thinking that Plexiglass and acrylic are the same. This statement is true. Plexiglass is made of acrylic. Regarding versatility and transparency, acrylic and Plexiglass are similar to each other. 

Nevertheless, noting that the manufacturing processes of the two are different. Regular acrylic is often made with an extrusion process, whereas Plexiglass is made with the combination of extrusion and cell-casting processes. 

The extrusion process is explained as forcing polymers through a die, which is fitted at the opposite of the extruded product. The purpose of extrusion is to reduce the cross-sections of the extruded product to convert into the desired shape. 

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Cell casting means pouring the liquid into two molds of glass to form cells. These two molds are separated by a gasket to control the thickness of the sheet. After that, two molds will be shrunk into warm water for polymerization. 

The cell-casting method is more time-consuming and labor-intensive. Plexiglas is made of cell-casting procedure, and it can be customized to users’ demands. 

Plexiglass Versus Glass: Why Is Plexiglass More Expensive?

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Higher manufacturing cost

The cost to make Plexiglass is higher than the glass-making process. As mentioned above, Plexiglas is made of the cell-casting procedure. This procedure occurs in closed and exclusive areas to ensure the disappearance of impurities. Thus, the Plexiglas product outcomes have no impurities left. 

For products made by the extrusion process, impurities may remain. Compared to acrylic made by extrusion, Plexiglas (acrylic made by cell-casting) is harder, so it is less susceptible to scratches than glass and regular acrylic. In addition, cell-casting yields harder, sturdier, so it is more labor-intensive than extrusion. 

Glass, on the other hand, is made of raw materials (sand, soda ash, and limestone). The process includes steps: refining/ melting, float bath, coating, annealing, inspecting, and cutting into order. The main phases of the manufacturing process involve machinery operations. Therefore, it is not time-consuming and labor-intensive, like Plexiglass.

Learn how glass is made here

Due to the very high cost of manufacturing, Plexiglas is sold at a very high price. Depending on the size, Plexiglas is sold at different prices. In the US, the standard Plexiglas is sold at $10 per square meter. In case of high demand, suppliers can increase the price three times higher ($30). The 18 x 24 inch Plexiglas panel already costs you no less than $70. 

Higher durability 

According to experts, cell-cast Plexiglass/ extruded Plexiglass are more pliable than glass. Plexiglas is more expensive because it is resistant to scratches and easier to be recycled. 

Glass is an amorphous frozen liquid. The compound of glass is inorganic and cooled from liquid to solid. Therefore, it is easier to shatter than Plexiglass.

Plexiglas is different; it can be bent to any shape and cannot be shattered. In reality, glass cannot be bent and is easy to break, so it is hard for transportation and installation. Conversely, Plexiglas is 20 times more durable than glass. No matter how strong the impact is, Plexiglas remains unshattered. 

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See how Plexiglass is tested here 

Low Fading and Discolouration

Usually, acrylic-based products have 10 years of warranty. This period includes fading and discoloration. When you live in humid and salty areas, these phases appear sooner because constant rain and salinity decolorize the mirrors. 

If you install windows with normal glass, it will be blurred soon. So instead, Plexiglas is the best alternative for glasses when designing houses in special areas. Some Plexiglas even last for up to 30 years. 

For materials highly exposed to chemicals and ammonia, fading and discoloration also appear soon for glasses. For Plexiglass, the fading and discoloration happen later. Hence, some exclusive products such as test tubes for laboratories, medical instruments are made of Plexiglas. 

Better Light reflection

Light reflection is the ability to reflect sunlight through the windows. It also shows the clearness of the object observed. Regarding light reflection, Plexiglass offers more clarity and less glare than glass.

The light reflection of regular glass is 80%, whereas the light reflection of Plexiglass is 90%. Therefore, Plexiglass is preferred for greenhouse installment. At a certain level of thickness, the glass starts to look milky and less transparent. Plexiglass is slimmer, resulting in better transparency. Therefore, car/airplane windows are made of Plexiglass rather than glass.

Easy Installation and Transportation

Glass is much heavier than Plexiglass. The statistics indicate that Plexiglass discoloration average weight is from 0.5 lbs- 0.9 lbs. Conversely, glass often weighs 5 lbs on average. Because of its lightweight, Plexiglass is very versatile and durable for installation and transportation. 

During the long journey lasting for several hours, consumers do not need to worry about Plexiglass being broken. Glass, on the other hand, may break because of impacts caused by transport shocks.

Easier to shape

In addition, Plexiglas is easier to cut than glass. Users can use a regular saw to cut into pieces without much attempt. Because of its sturdiness, glass is much harder to cut. Users must use sharp knives and saws with a strong force to cut them into pieces.

Figure out how to cut Plexiglass via this link

Due to its versatility and durability, Plexiglass is used for lots of applications. For example, nowadays, almost all windows are from Plexiglas. You can also find Plexiglas in the aquarium as it is stronger and better to penetrate. 

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Less harmful to human

Plexiglas causes less harm to humans than glass. If you ever cut your hand with Plexiglas, it is less sharp and hurtful than glass does. The fragments of glass are dangerous when people accidentally step in. 

Conclusion

Though the pricing is expensive, it is worth investing in Plexiglass due to the whole host of benefits it offers. So, when putting Plexiglass glasses in the comparison, Plexiglass is worth its price. 

Hope that after reading this article, you have managed to answer “why is Plexiglass so expensive.” Should you find our explanation helpful, please do not hesitate to give us a subscription.