Acrylic vs Glass

Acrylic vs Glass
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  • Acrylic vs Glass

Acrylic vs Glass

Acrylic is often referred to as plastic or plexiglass and is a great alternative to glass, not just for picture frames but for so much more.

While properties like transparency, stiffness, and strength have helped make glass successful, it has been limited by other properties. Its brittleness and heavy weight, as well as the difficulty of cutting, shaping, applying colors and decorating the glass, have imposed limitations on designers, builders, and architects, alike.

Acrylic is optically clear, 10-20x’s tougher than glass, its shatter resistant and at half the weight, it's easy to fabricate and form into a variety of shapes. It comes in a variety of colors and can be decoratively treated. It provides a new level of flexibility and allows ideas to take shape. Acrylic has crystal clarity, pure water-clear edges, and unmatched light transmission. The dull grey or green edges of glass cannot match the sparkle and elegance of acrylic. Unlike glass, colorless acrylic sheet has essentially zero absorption of visible light which allows for as much light as the human eye can view.

The chart below shows the typical values for visible light absorption for acrylic verses glass:

Sheet Thickness Acrylic Sheet Plate Glass
0.118" 0% 2%
0.177" 0% 3%
0.236" 0% 4%
0.375" 0% 6%
0.500" 0% 8%
0.750" 0% 11%


In addition, Roehm America LLC's ACRYLITE® acrylic sheet products have been tested for compliance with many codes and regulations. A few of these are listed below. (Exact compliance classification may vary with product type and thickness.) View our other ACRYLITE® product compliance and certificates.

  • NY City MEA #144-80-M or 145-80-M
  • City of Los Angeles, Research Report #RR 24392
  • ANSI Z 97.1 for Safety Glazing Materials used in Buildings
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 2-5, Safety Glazing (FMVSS205)
  • ANSI Z26.1, AS-4, 5, 6 & 7 for Safety Glazing Material for Glazing Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Operating on Land and Highway
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 302 for Flammability of Interior Materials
  • ICC-ES Evaluation Report ESR-1260, classification CC2
  • Underwriters Laboratories Recognized Component, File #E54671
  • Underwriters Laboratories Flammability Rating: 94HB in all thicknesses

    * Flammability. Acrylic is a combustible thermoplastic. Be sure to consider all applicable building code regulations before substituting acrylic for glass.

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