Design engineers and product developers, working in a variety of manufacturing areas, should consider using acrylic fabrications as an alternative over traditional materials for new products. Acrylic offers many advantages to other materials, and depending upon the particular product that is being designed, the advantages can be used to stretch the capability and creativity of current product designs. The following are three areas where acrylic is already being used to create exciting new products.
Fish tanks and home aquariums
Design engineers can have a lot of fun constructing aquariums out of acrylic because of the many possibilities of shapes that can be imagined. Unlike glass, there is virtually no limitation as to what shape the aquarium can take. A glass fish tank is limited to rectangular shapes. In addition, it is easy to use dyes with acrylic, so part of the tank, such as the back portions, can be a different color. Another advantage is with weight. Of course, this is only an advantage when installing the aquarium, or moving it from one place of the house to another, but it can be a big help when rearranging furniture in the house or moving to a new home.
Shower doors for residential use
There are two great advantages to using acrylic rather than glass for a bathroom shower door. The first is that acrylic is lighter than glass. This is a big help for shower doors that slide open. This is one of the most common shower doors as many bathrooms are a combination tub and shower. Even with rollers mounted underneath the glass doors, they can become hard to open over time and need maintenance. The second advantage is with safety. Acrylic will not break when struck with force. A glass door, even made with safety glass, can injure a person in the bathroom.
Using acrylic with clothing
Acrylic fabrics continues to find new uses in a variety of applications. They have excellent insulating properties yet are light weight, making them ideal for athletes competing in cold climates. Alternatively, acrylic fibers are an excellent choice for designing clothing for use in hot climates. Because of the nature of this material, moisture from the body is transported to the outer portion of the fabric instead of it being absorbed by the clothing. This keeps a person cooler and reduces odor.
The application of designs with acrylic materials continues to grow, and it is only limited by the designer's imagination. For your next design, consider whether acrylic might be a viable alternative, and consider the possibilities that this material provides you that a more traditional material does not.