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Acrylic Tubes: The Ultimate FAQ Guide
If you are planning to import acrylic tubes from China, you need to understand their technical specifications.
For example, you should know the dimensions, characteristics, coating substrate, characteristics, etc.
Today’s guide will be your blueprint to sourcing for tubes made from acrylic.
- What are Acrylic Tubes?
- How can you Cut Acrylic Tubes?
- How are Acrylic Tubes Manufactured?
- How do you clean acrylic tubes?
- What are the Benefits of Acrylic Tubes?
- Are there Disadvantages of Acrylic Tubes?
- Are Acrylic Tubes Scratch Resistance?
- How do you Remove Scratches on Acrylic Tubes?
- Can Acrylic Tube Turn Yellow when Exposed to Sunlight?
- How much does Acrylic Tube Cost?
- What is the Average Thickness of Acrylic Tubes?
- How is Acrylic Tube compared to Polycarbonate Tube?
- Do Acrylic Tube Break Easily?
- What are the Benefits of Acrylic Tubes over Glass?
- Can you Drill Holes on Acrylic Tubes?
- Apart from Transparent Acrylic Tubes, do Acrylic Tubes come in Different Colors?
- Can Acrylic Tube be Affected by Water after Exposure for a Long Time?
- Are Acrylic Tubes Chemical Resistant?
- What are some of the Methods used in Machining Acrylic Tube?
- What are Acrylic Tubes use for?
- Which other Material can Replace Acrylic Tube?
- Are Acrylic Tubes Environmental Friendly?
- What is the difference between Acrylic Tube and Acrylic Rod?
- What is the difference between Extruded Acrylic Tubing and Cast acrylic tubing?
- Are Acrylic Tube Heat Resistant?
- How do you Specify Acrylic Tubes?
- Are Acrylic TubesLightweight compared to Glass?
- Can you Print on Acrylic Tube?
What are Acrylic Tubes?
These are hollow, long and cylindrical section made from acrylic polymer, alongside other additives.
Most of these acrylic resins are normally translucent or transparent hence making them highly preferred after material for plastic tubes.
Of course, you can also get colored depending on your specific requirements.
These tubes are normally used in toys, laboratory equipment, product design, museum displays, home furnishing, etc.
Therefore, these tubes are normally designed in different ways depending on the duties of the application.
The acrylic materials are normally of two basic types i.e. the extruded acrylic material and cell cast acrylic material.
However, cast acrylics normally preferred for making tubes since they don’t easily bend and less likely to melt or chip during milling.
It is therefore normally preferred for large structures installation in the acrylic system.
The extruded acrylic material is also good since it offers more resistance to impacts than glass and also a good electrical and UV resistivity.
How can you Cut Acrylic Tubes?
Here the most preferred option is a table saw or you can also use a power saw but power saw are normally expensive.
Another option you can use is a hacksaw with a fine blade.
This method is normally used by many people since it is more affordable compared to the other methods.
After making the cut, file down the edges to clean up them.
Apart from these, you can also laser cut acrylic tubes.
Although laser cutting is slightly expensive, it is accurate and fast.
Laser cutting acrylic is common in most industrial setups.
Laser cutting acrylic tube
How are Acrylic Tubes Manufactured?
They are many techniques you can use to manufacture acrylic tubes.
However, plastic extrusion is popular method of producing acrylic tubes.
Acrylic tub extrusion
Acrylic tube extrusion involves the following key processes:
i. Choosing High-Quality Acrylic Material
You will choose high quality acrylic material, which can be in pellet or small pieces.
Depending on the types of acrylic tubes you need, you can use virgin or recycled material.
Also, you may also add some colorants depending on the type of acrylic tube you want.
You will pour all acrylic raw material in the hopper.
ii. Screw System for Acrylic Extrusion Process
Acrylic material will the move to the barrel where there is a turning screw and heaters.
There are a number of factors that will determine the quality of acrylic tube.
- Number of screws which can be double or single
- Rotating speed of the screw
- Temperature from the heating system
Obviously, you will configure all these to conform to the heating requirements of acrylic material.
As the acrylic material move to the barrel, the turning screw will:
- Help move the acrylic material throughout the process – as it transitions from solid-state to liquid ready for extrusion
- Facilitates the melting process of acrylic material
- Pumps acrylic as it pushes it to the die section
These machines have a gearbox system that helps move the screw system.
Basically, you will have the feed section, melt/transition section, compression section, and metering section.
iii. Extrusion of the Acrylic Tubes
The machine pushes the molten acrylic material through the die system.
Consequently, it produces an acrylic tube with a specified diameter as the die system.
During the extrusion process, airflow will protect the acrylic tube from collapsing.
iv. Cooling and Sizing Acrylic Tubes
You will cool and size the acrylic tube.
Of course, what follows is quality inspection, marking and packaging the acrylic tube.
How do you clean acrylic tubes?
You can use water, mild soap and a soft cleaning cloth.
Here do not use any solution containing ammonia or ammonia-based solution on acrylic since it may cause it to craze.
You can clean the outer surface.
However, for the inner section, flush using a solution at high pressure.
Depending on the diameter of the acrylic tube, you can insert a thin material for the cleaning.
What are the Benefits of Acrylic Tubes?
Clear acrylic tube
Acrylic tubes are popular in many applications because they are:
- Durable – Acrylic has excellent mechanical and physical properties.
- Therefore, it can withstand stress and fluctuating environmental conditions.
- For instance, cast acrylic can withstand very high temperatures.
- It is generally strong and last for a long period of time.
- Acrylic is scratch resistant – compared to polycarbonate tubes, acrylic tubes can withstand scratches. They remain in good condition for a long time.
- Superior optical clarity hence clear acrylic tubes transmit mire light.
- Acrylic tubes do not yellow easily on exposure to UV radiation
- Easy to machine – you can cut acrylic tubes to size or drill holes easily
Are there Disadvantages of Acrylic Tubes?
Yes, but few, they include;
- Have poor resistance to solvent.
- They do not have flexible grades of acrylics.
- Their impact resistance is also not at par. It is only 17 times resistant to impact.
- They also scratch more easily compared to glass.
Are Acrylic Tubes Scratch Resistance?
Acrylic tubes are not 100% scratch resistant.
However, they have better scratch-resistant properties that polycarbonate tubes.
To improve the scratch-resistant properties of acrylic tubing, they may come with scratch-resistant coating.
The scratch-resistant coating is also called hard coating. This coating protects the acrylic tube.
How do you Remove Scratches on Acrylic Tubes?
You can use a 600grit sandpaper, soak it in water then run it over the scratched area in a circular motion.
Repeat the procedure using a dry 600grit sandpaper.
Rub with both wet and dry sandpaper for about 3 to 3 minutes and in the process, the scratches will go away.
Therefore you should not be worried when your acrylic looks scratched, you can apply the above procedures.
Remember, like any other plastic, you can polish acrylic to remove scratches.
Can Acrylic Tube Turn Yellow when Exposed to Sunlight?
The modern acrylic tubes do not turn yellow on exposure to sunlight.
They will maintain their color for a long period of time.
How much does Acrylic Tube Cost?
The price of these acrylic tubing varies depending on the diameter, the length and the color of the tube.
It will therefore depend on the applications made by customers.
What is the Average Thickness of Acrylic Tubes?
The thickness of acrylic normally ranges from 1.5 to 50mm.
Acrylic tube thickness above this will only apply to clear acrylic.
For tinted acrylic, a thickness of 10mm is used but for colored acrylic, you will get 3mm.
This therefore means that the thickness of acrylic varies depending on its color, design etc.
How is Acrylic Tube compared to Polycarbonate Tube?
Acrylic tubing is less resistant to impacts.
It is 17 times the impact resistance of standard glass.
On the other hand, polycarbonate tubing is more resistant to impact since it is normally 250 times the impact resistance of standard glass.
Polycarbonate tubes do not crack easily due to their strong nature unlike acrylic tubes which can easily crack.
Of course, acrylic tube is stronger that glass.
Polycarbonate is also more resilience than acrylic.
Acrylic tubes are cheaper than polycarbonate tubes.
Do Acrylic Tube Break Easily?
Acrylic tubing does not break easily due to the high impact strength.
Besides, they can withstand extremely high temperatures without losing their inherent properties.
What are the Benefits of Acrylic Tubes over Glass?
Acrylic is many times stronger than glass thus has superior weather resistance compared to glass.
This enables it to serve for a longer period compared to glass.
Acrylic tubes are lighter in weight compared to glass tubes which are much denser, therefore, heavier than acrylic.
This property makes it ideal for DIY projects since it is easier to work with and maneuver.
Acrylic is also easier to fabricate compared to glass.
Acrylic tubes are impact resistant than glass.
Can you Drill Holes on Acrylic Tubes?
Of course you can use a regular metal drill bit.
However, the chances of melting, chipping, cracking or breaking the acrylic tube is much higher.
So in order to avoid these, you must ensure that you go slowly, stop often to cool the drill and always support the tube as the process continues.
Apart from Transparent Acrylic Tubes, do Acrylic Tubes come in Different Colors?
colored acrylic tube
Acrylic tubes are normally available in a variety of colors.
For instance, you may have acrylic tubes in red, blue, green or any other color you may want.
This, therefore, means that color for acrylic tubes will depend on the application requirements.
Can Acrylic Tube be Affected by Water after Exposure for a Long Time?
No, prolonged exposure to moisture or total immersion does not have any effect on the acrylic tubing.
Are Acrylic Tubes Chemical Resistant?
Well, it will depend on the grade of the acrylic tube you will be using.
However, acrylic tubes are not affected by dilute alkalis, detergents or cleaners.
Note: Never use an acrylic tube for solutions that are prohibited by the manufacturer.
What are some of the Methods used in Machining Acrylic Tube?
When it comes to fabricating acrylic pipes, you can consider any of the following:
Bonding or Welding Acrylic
Acrylic tubes can be joined using different mechanism.
You can use heat or adhesive to join two or more acrylic tubes together.
Bending Acrylic Tube
At times, you would wish to install acrylic tubes in regions with corners.
In such situations, you can easily bend acrylic tube to fit the specific needs of your application requirements.
Cutting Acrylic Tube to Size
Depending on where you intend to use the acrylic tube, you can use saw or laser cutting machine.
However, before you adopt any cutting mechanism, you need to evaluate the cost and whether the technique is viable or not.
Drilling Acrylic Tube
You can drill acrylic tubes to fit the specific needs of your applications.
However, as you drill the hole, you should be careful not to damage the surface of the acrylic tube.
Printing on Acrylic
Additionally, you can also print on acrylic tubes.
Note: Before machining acrylic tubes, ensure you understand the entire process.
This will save you from damaging the acrylic tube.
What are Acrylic Tubes use for?
There are two types of acrylic tubes i.e. extruded acrylic tube and the cast acrylic tube.
Extruded acrylic tube is mainly used in sales displays and decorative furniture pieces.
Whereas cast acrylic tube is used in food processing industries as well as oil, fabrication work, gas and pipeline research, signs, displays etc.
Basically, you can use acrylic tube in a range of applications.
Just ensure the acrylic tube is compatible with the specific application you intend to use it for.
Which other Material can Replace Acrylic Tube?
Although glass tubes can replace acrylic tubes, they are not the best option.
This is because they are not durable, and prone to breaking, hence, not always recommended.
At the same time, polycarbonate tubes can replace acrylic tubes.
Although polycarbonate tubes have superior properties than acrylic tubes, they are costly.
Moreover, they are prone to scratches, unlike the acrylic tubes.
Are Acrylic Tubes Environmental Friendly?
Generally, acrylic tubes are environmentally friendly.
However, it will also depend on the grade of the acrylic material used in the tube.
Remember, some of the acrylic tubes cannot be easily recycled once damaged nor readily biodegradable.
It is non-toxic to the aquatic organisms and inert to the environment.
It is also a good chemical resistance.
What is the difference between Acrylic Tube and Acrylic Rod?
Acrylic rod is a solid structure that mainly comes in round shape.
On the other hand, the acrylic tube is a hollow structure.
So the difference between acrylic rod and the acrylic tube is the hole within the cross-section.
Acrylic rod vs acrylic tube
· What is the difference between Extruded Acrylic Tubing and Cast acrylic tubing?
In terms of cost, extruded acrylic tubing is less expensive compared to cast acrylic tubing which is more expensive.
Cast acrylic tubing is significantly stronger than extruded acrylic tubing.
Besides, cast acrylic is more chemical resistant compared to extruded tubing making it to be recommended for laboratory applications.
Cast acrylic tubing can also be easily machined and glued while extruded tubing cannot be machined.
Are Acrylic Tube Heat Resistant?
They can resist heat up to around 160 degrees C.
How do you Specify Acrylic Tubes?
When specifying acrylic tubes, your main focus should be on:
- Length of the tube
- Diameter of the tube
- Type of the coating surface
- Thickness of the acrylic tube
Are Acrylic TubesLightweight compared to Glass?
The weight of glass tube is twice that of acrylic tube.
Of course, this is a situation where we compare tubes of the same dimensions.
Can you Print on Acrylic Tube?
Of course you can print to make your unique images more dynamic. This printing process does not require any photo paper or additional mounting material.