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What are Acrylic Tubes?

9/13/2013 4:38:40 PM | by Anonymous

Acrylic Tubes

Acrylic Tubes are basically tubes made from acrylic for various purposes. The term “Acrylic” is for products that contain substances derived from acrylic acid or related compound. It is used to describe a clear, glass-like plastic known as poly (methyl) methacrylate (PMMA). PMMA also called acrylic glass has a property which comes off as a better choice for products that might otherwise be made from glass. The two types would be cast and extruded acrylic.


They come in a large variety of sizes for different uses. Typically, acrylic tubes can be ordered from suppliers dependent on the size needed for the use. Cast acrylic is highly regarded for its optical clarity. Additionally, it has outstanding light transmission properties. Cast acrylic tubes are also used in variety of applications in replacement of extruded and moulded acrylic. This is because of better machining properties, higher clarity, greater resistance against heat distortion and greater tensile strength. They are also more expensive as compared to extruded acrylic. The resulting sheets are usually stronger than the extruded acrylic. And its typically used for aquariums, awards, other products that would require shaping or machining into the final state.


There are also different kinds of acrylic tubes besides the Cast Acrylic Tubes. The other type would be Extruded Acrylic Tubes. Clear extruded acrylic tubes also known as plexiglass tubes are usually sold in standard sizes. They are made through the process whereby the liquid plastic is pushed through roller then pressed into sheets while it cools. However, in comparison with cast acrylic tubes, extruded acrylic tubes will come in weaker. This is because the extruded acrylic material does not machine and polish as well as the cast acrylic tubes. This is due to its low heat distortion point. However, it is perfectly ideal for reinforcing and decorative work. It is comparatively inexpensive but the resulting sheets are usually softer and can incur scratches more easily. Additionally, they may contain impurities. Extruded acrylic is however still considered to be good quality and is more commonly made available on the market.


Ways to treat Acrylic Tubes


- Bending Acrylic Tubes

Most people purchase acrylic tubes for different purposes. Often, these purposes would require for the acrylic tubes to be bent. The best way to bend an acrylic tube is by using a strip heater with an element flowing between the two water cooled tubes. The material for the water cooled tubes is preferably stainless steel. The tubes should be adjustable so that the gaps between both tubes can be changed depending upon the thickness of the tubes while bending. One example: 3 millimeters of acrylic, the gap should be set to 12 millimeters. For 6 millimeters material, the gap should be set to 18 millimeters and for 8 millimeters the material gap should be 24 to 26 millimeters. The rule is generally 3 times the thickness of materials equals to the gaps in between the tubes. It is essential that during the bending process, the tube is kept free from moisture. This will in turn prevent bubbles from appearing in the material. If bubbles appear, it is due to leaving the material on the strip heater for too long or cause of the heat being set too high.


- Polishing Acrylic Tubes

It can be done in a couple of ways. The first is to buzz the edges in order for a smooth surface to be created. This is to remove the coarser saw marks. After which, using a buff to give the glass edge finish. Alternatively, you can flame polish the acrylic tubes using Hydrogen and Oxygen set up which helps delivers a far superior finish. This is not unlike that of glass. In some instances, pieces of acrylic can also be bent with the use of a hot air gun which forms them over a piece of acrylic tubes.

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