Are ACRYLITE® acrylic sheet products a thermoset or thermoplastic?
Generally, acrylics are considered thermoplastics. This includes both continuously manufactured and cell cast acrylic sheet.
A thermoplastic is a resin or plastic compound that, as a finished material, is capable of being repeatedly softened by heating and hardened by cooling. Examples of thermoplastics include acrylics, fluorocarbons, nylons, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, some types of polyurethanes and vinyl resins.
A material is considered thermoset if this resin or plastic compound, in its final state, cannot be softened and molded with the application of heat and pressure. Thermosetting resins are often liquids at some stage in their manufacture or processing, which are cured by heat, catalysts or other chemical means. Much crosslinking occurs. After being fully cured, thermosets cannot be softened and molded or formed by reheating.
Some plastics can be formulated to behave as either thermoplastics or thermosets. These include alkyd, allyl, amino, epoxy, furane, phenolic, polyacrylic ester, polyester and silicone resins.