PLEXIGLASS BARRIERS-Keep Your Staff & Your Customers Safe
What Is Plexiglass Made Of?
Acrylic is a transparent petroleum-based thermoplastic product often manufactured in sheets as a lightweight and shatter-resistant alternative to glass. Sometimes plexiglass is referred to as acrylic glass because it’s a glasslike substance.
To get more specific, acrylic is a synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate, a plastic. It was developed in 1928, in several different laboratories by many different scientists around the same time. You might be intrigued to know that acrylic sheeting is commonly referred to as plexiglass, but Plexiglas (capital P, one S) is a registered trademark from 1933. There are a handful of other branded versions as well that you may have heard of, such as Lucite and Crylux.
Plexiglass can be used much like glass because of its sturdiness and translucence. It can be made with a variety of UV and other coatings, and many industries employ plexiglass because of its versatility.
For example, manufacturers use plexiglass for light and instrument casings in cars, and to make appliances and eyewear lenses. Manufacturers use the sheet form of plexiglass for:
- furniture and
- screens, among thousands of other things.
In the medical and dental industries, the purity and stability of plexiglass make it perfect for prosthetics and certain devices and instruments. It’s used in submarines, airplanes, lighthouses and sports arenas because of its durability. Artists use it to paint on or sculpt with. Plexiglass is so strong that it can even bear the pressure at the bottom of a 33-foot-deep aquarium.
This is truly fascinating. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the discovery and technology of this amazing substance. But unless you’re building a vehicle (seagoing or otherwise), modern art, or medical products, you might wonder, what are the more common uses of plexiglass in everyday life?
What is plexiglass used for?
Because it’s lighter than other materials, plexiglass is cost-effective and easy to install. It’s also resistant to damage and breakage, providing a high level of protection when used in place of glass. Plexiglass has a long list of uses, including sound barriers, aquariums, display cases, brochure holders and picture frames.
It is preferred in medical settings because it is very resistant and doesn’t get damaged by cleaners. Now that companies are trying to reopen safely, plexiglass could be used as partitions between desks in offices, between sinks in bathrooms and between restaurant booths. They are also in nail salons, separating employees from customers, in senior living homes and in movie theaters, Marker reported. The transparent barriers will even be in casinos,
Can Plexiglass Stop COVID? How Well Do Barriers Work?
Plexiglass is advantageous because it is readily available, easily worked, smooth, transparent and easily cleanable. Plexiglass is more durable and less expensive than other forms of barriers, such as tempered glass or polycarbonate. The barriers as ''a reasonable engineering control" that is a supplement and not a substitute for masks and physical distancing.
"It's just another layer of protection, and usually we add that layer when the risks go up," says Denise Bender, an assistant director in the environmental health and safety department at the University of Washington, Seattle. The university has been adding plexiglass barriers to lobby areas, reception desks, and in the student pharmacy. The barriers don't mean people can skimp on wearing masks and keeping social distance, she agrees.
While barriers may help protect against large droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, the coronavirus can also be spread through smaller droplets that hang in the air.
One expert says the plexiglass shields work kind of the same way as face shields. "Face shields will block the large droplets," says William Ristenpart, PhD, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Davis. Likewise, plexiglass partitions ''would be less effective against aerosol transmission" than droplet transmission. "
Plexiglass may also be headed to restaurant tables soon. A French company is producing Plex'Eat, protective plexiglass bubbles that hang from the ceiling and enclose the heads of individual diners.
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