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Glossary of Plastics and Acrylics Terminology

Glossary of Plastics and Acrylics Terminology

Are you in the market for acrylic but finding yourself confused by the various terms used to describe it? You're not alone! Acrylic goes by several names, including plexiglass, plexi, lucite, and perspex. The primary aim of this post is to clarify that despite the many terms used for acrylic, they all refer to the same material.

This glossary is more than a list of definitions; it's a map to guide your exploration through the versatile world of plastics and acrylics. Whether your project is thriving in a retail store or featured in a gallery, your work deserves materials that resonate with quality and clarity — the hallmark qualities of acrylics.


Let's start with the basics. Acrylic refers to a family of synthetic, or man-made, plastic materials containing one or more derivatives of acrylic acid. It boasts properties like clarity, strength, and versatility, making it an ideal alternative to glass for many applications.


Perspex is a brand name for acrylic commonly used in the United Kingdom, Europe, and other parts of the world. It offers the same properties as other acrylic materials, including clarity, impact resistance, and weatherability. While less commonly used in North America, perspex is recognized globally as a high-quality acrylic material. It is commonly used as a lighter, shatterproof alternative to glass.


One of the most common terms used interchangeably with acrylic is plexiglass. Plexiglass is a brand name for acrylic sheeting manufactured by the company Arkema. Over time, however, it has become a generic trademark and is widely used to refer to acrylic in general.Synonymous with Perspex and often used interchangeably in everyday language.

Plexi or Plex

Like plexiglass, "plexi" is a shortened version of the term often used informally to describe acrylic. It's informal but widely understood in the industry and among DIY enthusiasts. Over the years, certain products that utilize acrylic have nicknames that incorporate the term “plexi,” such as the famed Marshall Super Lead guitar amp, which bears a plexiglass face panel, and thus is commonly referred to as a Plexi Lead or Marshall Plexi.   


Lucite is another brand name for acrylic commonly used in the plastics industry. Like plexiglass, Lucite has become a generic term for acrylic. Lucite acrylic resin has been used in a wide array of products for over 50 years, from furniture and lighting fixtures to jewelry and even electric guitars. It is prized for its optical clarity and elegance, which has earned vintage Lucite items a cult following among collectors.

Acrylic Sheet

Acrylic sheets are flat pieces of plastic with exceptional clarity and weather resistance, used across various industries including automotive, construction, and signage. Acrylic is a versatile, lightweight, and durable plastic material. It is known for its clarity, making it an excellent alternative to glass in many applications. Whether you're looking to create signage or displays acrylic offers a wide range of possibilities. 

Acrylic Circle

An acrylic circle is cut from acrylic sheets into a round shape. It has multiple uses, including decorative elements, windows in doors, and as bases for display cases. While acrylic sheets are easy enough to find, there aren’t many plastics vendors that have the necessary equipment to produce custom-sized acrylic circles at scale. T&T Plastic Land is one of the few plastics fabricators in New York that offers custom acrylic circles.

Whether you're referring to it as acrylic, plexiglass, plexi or plex, lucite, or perspex, you're talking about the same versatile plastic material.

By understanding these different terms, you can better navigate the world of acrylic. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast, a designer, or a sign maker, knowing the terminology will help you communicate and find what you’re looking for more effectively. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to contact T&T Plastic Land. We're always here to help. Happy crafting!

-- T&T Plastic Land

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