Acrylic Encyclopedia

The History of Acrylic | YUEFENG

August 26, 2021

    The reason why acrylic has such a wide range of applications in various fields is also related to its unique characteristics. One of its amazing properties is to use a curved plexiglass rod with a curvature of less than 48 degrees, which is shot from one end with a beam of light. Light can be projected along the acrylic rod as if flowing water through a water pipe. In other words, the light can be bent, which breaks the traditional concept that light can only shine directly. Some scientists took advantage of this discovery to make it into a medical surgical light-transmitting glass instrument. It is also because of this that when doctors perform operations on patients, they will no longer worry about not being able to see clearly because they cannot look directly at the operation site.


Acrylic History

    The development of acrylic has a historical process, and it was first invented in the world's industrial power, that is, Germany. As early as 1902, German chemist O. Rohm synthesized PMMA (acrylic). At that time, O.Rohm just wanted to use this material as an adhesive. Later, in 1920, the German Rohm and Haas company successfully developed PMMA sheets in the laboratory. Unfortunately, mass production was not yet possible at that time.



    In 1927, chemists of the German Rohm and Haas Company heated the acrylate between two glass plates, and the acrylate polymerized to form a viscous rubber-like interlayer. The organic glass can be used as an anti-breaking safety glass. When they used the same method to polymerize methyl methacrylate, they got a material with high transparency and other good properties. It was "polymethyl methacrylate."

Four years later, in 1931, the same Rom and Haas company began to build a factory specializing in the production of "polymethyl methacrylate". The product was first applied in the aircraft industry, replacing Cerro plastic and used as an aircraft cockpit cover. And windshield. In the same year, Mr. Crawford, a chemist from ICI, invented an economical method to produce acrylic monomer (acrylic monomer is in liquid form) in the laboratory.



    In 1936, the British ICI began to manufacture acrylic sheets by the method of mold polymerization, and applied them to fighter cockpit covers.

    In 1937, the British ICI synthesized and mass-produced "methyl methacrylate", which is the acrylic monomer, and made the acrylic manufacturing industry advance by leaps and bounds. This method uses concentrated sulfuric acid to convert cyanopropanol (ACH) into an intermediate product of methacrylate amide Sulfate, then methanol and water react with this to finally form methyl methacrylate.



    Taiwan's Chi Mei tried to manufacture acrylic pellets in 1957, intending to carry it forward and promote Taiwan's acrylic industry. In 1989, it expanded its production line to produce acrylic plastic pellets. Kaohsiung Plastic Ester Co., Ltd. was established in 1976. It is the first company in Taiwan to produce PMMA (acrylic/acrylic/plexiglass) panels and provides a stable supply of raw materials for the acrylic industry in Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region.


    Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. invented the raw material of isobutylene C4 to produce acrylic monomer raw material in 1982.



    Mainland China began to study acrylic materials in 1953, and the research on the synthesis and polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomers began by the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences.In 1955, Jinxi Chemical Research Institute completed the industrial scale-up test of MMA monomer synthesis and casting polymerization in Shenyang Chemical Comprehensive Laboratory, and later began to develop oriented plexiglass.In 1985, China introduced a grinding and polishing machine from Sie~in in the United States, which basically solved the long-standing apparent quality problems of oriented plexiglass such as heat resistance and optical distortion.


    The industrialization of plexiglass is a very complicated process. It was first applied in European countries where early industrialization was demonstrated rapidly, and later in China and Japan. In fact, it is precisely because plexiglass is lightweight, tough, and chemically stable. In addition to being heated and having very good moldability, it plays an important role in display products, so its use is becoming more and more extensive, so that it is promoted to the world.

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