Is Plexiglass The Same As Lexan®?

This is question that we hear fairly often. The easy answer is No!

Both of these items/resins are the trade names for two different products.

Plexiglass or Plexiglas®

The Plexiglas® trade name (notice only one ‘s’ at the end) was the first trade name for Acrylic Sheet. Invented by Rohm & Haas in the 1930’s and is the Acrylic Sheet by Arkema Grouporiginal manufacturer of PolyMethylMethAcrylate or PMMA. The trade name is now owned by the Arkema Group.  And, yes, they still produce a wide range of Acrylic Sheet. Acrylic is an extremely clear and rigid plastic used in hundreds of applications, from Aircraft Canopies to Window Replacement. It is much more impact resistant than standard window glass.Uses of Acrylic are vast and far reaching, from drinking glasses and clear bath towel rods to huge clear tanks for whales. The material can be formed into parts or three dimensional shapes (like the 76 station sign in the shape of a ball), it can be bent to small card holders on your restaurant table to the face of your 60″ LCD TV.  Acrylic is used in thousands of projects, it can be glued, polished and sanded; and can be fabricated into almost any shape or size.

Lexan

As for Lexan®, this is a Polycarbonate Sheet and was originally invented in the 1950’s. General Electric was one of the key innovators (along with Bayer Chemical) and trade name holder for years, and sold it GE, General Electric Lexan - Sabicrecently to Sabic ( Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation). Lexan® and Makrolon® Polycarbonate have a unique range of physical properties which include: transparency, extreme toughness and elevated temperature property retention.  Polycarbonate applications are widespread and include automotive, media, glazing, lighting and electronic equipment along with a myriad of consumer applications. Polycarbonate is used in bullet resistant glazing in banks and armored cars. The excellent impact resistant properties make it an obvious choice for protective glazing, and is used as lens in most ‘safety glasses’. Chances are excellent that you own several items made of polycarbonate.

American Made Plastics are proud to provide quality Acrylic and Polycarbonate sheet from our massive inventory. We provide material from several domestic manufactures of Acrylic, and choose to supply the domestic Polycarbonate material from Covestro (formerly Bayer) and produced by Sheffield Plastics in Sheffield, Massachusetts rather than the Saudi made SABIC material.

Plexiglas® and Lexan® are very common trade names for very common materials.