When you think of green or sustainable materials for design and technology, acrylic probably isn't the first thing you think of. Instead, you might think of things like Bamboo, Cork, and Poplar laserply. All great materials to work with that are also sustainable resources.
There is though an acrylic that stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of sustainability and green credentials. Greencast® is the most sustainable acrylic in the world, and, it's available from Kitronik and is a laser grade material. Let's take a closer look!
What is Greencast® Acrylic?
Greencast® is a high-quality cast acrylic that is made from 100% recycled acrylic. It has all of the same great properties as standard acrylics but with far fewer drawbacks. As cast acrylics have a better light transmission value than extruded acrylics, they make a great alternative glass. You can find acrylics used in place of glass in things such as; skylights, aircraft canopies, signage. It looks and performs just like a standard cast acrylic and it also has exactly the same lifespan.
Greencast® is a circular material. This means that it starts out made from 100% recycled acrylics and it can itself be recycled time and time again. Each time it is recycled it retains all of its quality attributes. In theory, once an item has been made and used, it can then be recycled back into a new sheet of Greencast® acrylic.
If recycled responsibly, it should never find its way into landfills or bodies of water. Instead, it can be recycled locally and turned back into acrylic sheets. Greencast® also uses less water and CO2 to manufacture than virgin sheet production. They are also free from volatile organic compounds and hydro-fluorocarbons. The protective film is PVC free and safe for laser cutting.
How Is Greencast® Acrylic Made?
As the name would suggest, Greencast is a cast acrylic. It is made from 100% pre and post-consumer recycled plastics. Hot liquid acrylic is poured between two glass sheets, it is then further heated in an oven. As it heats, the chemical properties alter and then it is removed from the oven and allowed to cool. The spacing between the two glass sheets determine the thickness of the resulting sheets.
What Is the Difference Between Cast and Extruded Acrylics?
There are more differences than just the manufacturing method. Casting leads to a much higher-quality acrylic than extruding. Cast acrylics have better; optical clarity, resistance to solvents, thermal stability, surface finish, optical properties, and better dimensional tolerances. In short, cast acrylics are far superior to extruded acrylics.
What Can Greencast® Be Used For?
It can be used as a direct replacement for non-recycled cast acrylics as it has all of the same properties. It can be used for; signage, glazing, protective coverings, kit enclosures, stands, to name just a few. Acrylic is approximately 10 times more resistant to impact damage than glass, so it can sometimes make more sense as a protective covering than glass.
How Easy Is It To Work With?
It is just as easy to work with as any virgin acrylic. It can be; laser-cut/engraved, drilled, cut with a saw, milled, bonded, faceted, thermoformed, sanded/polished, digitally printed to, and more. Also, the end results you can expect will be just the same as for high-quality virgin acrylics too. You can find more information on working with acrylics and other laser grade materials here.
Available from Kitronik:
- 7 Varieties of Acrylic Sheets (Greencast) 600mm x 400mm x 3mm.
- Clear Acrylic Sheet (Greencast) 3mm x 600mm x 400mm.
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