Lucite Vs. Acrylic: The Differences And Uses Of Both

September 22, 2021 by David Parry
lucite vs acrylic

Acrylic: it’s one of those words that’s become part of everyday life. Having said that, most of us would probably struggle to define exactly what it is. We just know what it looks like.

Lucite is a term that probably isn’t as familiar. What exactly is Lucite? And what’s the difference between Lucite and acrylic? Read on for our complete guide to Lucite vs. acrylic.

Getting to Know Lucite and Acrylic

Acrylic and Lucite are both transparent plastics developed as alternatives to glass. Like glass, you can use them in many different applications.

Here’s the first hurdle in differentiating Lucite vs. acrylic: all Lucite is acrylic, but not all acrylic is Lucite.

Acrylic is the broad term for a range of thermoplastics. Lucite is a type of acrylic, that is of particularly high quality. Acrylic is a generic term and is often marketed under the brand name Plexiglass.

On the other hand, Lucite—and this explains why we make a point of capitalizing the word— is actually a brand name. The chemical giant DuPont developed Lucite in the 1920s. They trademarked the name Lucite. When you consider that its chemical name is polymethyl methacrylate, you can see why they chose to market it as Lucite.

What’s the Difference Between Lucite and Acrylic?

While acrylic and Lucite are both transparent plastics, Lucite is the highest-quality acrylic. If you see that a deal toy or award manufacturer uses acrylic, that can have many meanings.

Acrylic comes in a range of different grades. Some offer outstanding clarity, scratch resistance, and strength. Other, lower grades of acrylic will only look good at first.

Over time, after maybe a year or so, you may notice that it starts to degrade. Rather than being crystal clear, your award or toy may take on a yellowish tinge. Not the look you were going for, and not the impression you want to give a client.

If you want a deal toy or award that will stand the test of time, Lucite is the way to go.

Qualities of Lucite and Acrylic

Acrylic has a number of qualities that make it a good alternative to glass in many applications. Acrylic is a thermoplastic, meaning that you can melt and mold it into a range of shapes. This process barely affects its strength and it can be done time and time again.

It is lighter than glass and many forms of acrylic are relatively scratch resistant. Unlike glass, acrylic also tends to be much more durable and far less susceptible to breakage or damage.

When formed into sheets, acrylic can be very strong and stiff, while remaining clear. It also bonds well with adhesives and solvents. In addition, it’s water-resistant. This makes it suitable for use in aquariums and vivariums. Even commercial uses such as submarine windows and airplane canopies make use of acrylic.

Lucite is particularly appreciated for its clarity. It’s clearer than glass and is quite scratch-resistant. You can buff out minor scratches easily. Its extra strength means it’s a little heavier than other acrylics, but still not as heavy as glass. Like other forms of acrylic, you can also mold it into an endless variety of shapes and styles. You can also carve it into intricate shapes, and it is suitable for etching. It can be dyed into any color you can imagine.

Uses of Lucite and Acrylic

Acrylic has a wide range of uses beyond deal toys and decorative items. Many people appreciate the aesthetic of acrylic furniture. Because it is transparent, it can accentuate a minimalist, open plan for an airy feel in interior design. Acrylic furniture can include stools, chairs, dining tables, coffee tables, and shelves.

Here again, terminology can get confusing. What’s marketed as acrylic furniture is often actually Lucite. That goes back to the fact that Lucite is simply the highest quality form of acrylic on the market. Making Lucite furniture rather than using lower grades of acrylic makes sense. Lucite furniture is strong, durable, and easy to clean. It’s also resistant to UV light, so it won’t fade or yellow in the sun. These qualities also mean that it’s perfect for outdoor furniture. If you’re thinking of buying acrylic furniture, check with the manufacturer if they use Lucite. That way you know that you are getting a quality product.

But Lucite wasn’t always just the material of choice for acrylic furniture. One of the original uses of Lucite was costume jewelry. Vintage pieces are now highly sought after and can be worth a lot of money. Jewelry makers appreciated its clarity, the fact that you can dye it easily, and it is easy to carve and polish.

Lucite is also an excellent medium for artists. That’s because it is highly sculptable and possesses unique ethereal qualities. People appreciate the play of light through the sculptures. This adds different dimensions depending on the angle of view.

A Lucite sculpture can make a stylish addition to any home. Artists exploit its ability to give dazzling transparency. They also appreciate its capacity to be dyed and made opaque, depending on the desired look. Lucite can also be used to make hard-wearing door furniture. This includes door handles and knobs. They give the luxurious appearance of glass and can be custom molded into a huge range of shapes and styles.

Lucite vs. Acrylic: Which One’s the Winner?

If you’re looking for deal toys or awards, in the battle of Lucite vs. acrylic there’s only one winner: Lucite. Regular acrylic can be a versatile material, but it can present real pitfalls for deal toys and awards

For one thing, many acrylics used for deal toys and custom awards—acrylics that are of a lesser quality than Lucite— can yellow and discolor over time, even as quickly as within a year. You obviously don’t want a once-sparkling deal toy or award to turn dingy within months. What kind of impression does that convey to the recipient? Whether you’re providing custom awards or Lucite tombstones,  the goal is to provide clients, employees, and team members with an enduring symbol of achievement and appreciation.

The Corporate Presence has over 40 years of experience. We create bespoke deal toys, tombstones, and awards for both financial institutions and corporate clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups . We use a range of top-quality materials to fit your desired aesthetic.

Click here to request a quote for deal toys or awards today!

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