Sunfish Acrylics is a Cape Town based company that installs acrylic products. We specialise in the installation of acrylic panels for pools, salt and fresh water aquariums and the construction of displays.
Our years of experience, hands-on approach and attention to detail have made us leaders in the industry. We use only the best products and materials to ensure an excellent long-lasting installation. We install world wide.
Introduction to Acrylics
Acrylic is a great alternative to glass and is commonly used in aquariums, museums, swimming pools, boats, aeroplanes and the security industry. Acrylic is a monolithic material made of an organic substance, hence the nickname “organic glass”. Plexiglas© is a popular brand name for acrylic.
The lightweight properties of acrylic, its incredible strength and clarity, compared to conventional glass, make it a very popular choice.
Advantages of Acrylics
Acrylic is up to 50% lighter than conventional glass due to its lower density. It is easier to
transport, carry and install, requiring less machinery like cranes.
Strength, Shattering and Cracking
Acrylic is up to 17 times stronger than conventional glass. Acrylic has a higher impact strength than glass and does not shatter when exposed to high strains.
The crack resistance is especially valuable, when large underwater windows are craned into their location.
The installation of large and heavy glazing bears a certain risk for the
installation company when using laminated safety glass. Acrylic is more tolerant to point loads and forces while being craned and generally flexes rather than breaks. Acrylic’s high impact strength, durability and applicability make it the ideal material even when human lives are at stake reducing risk of injury. E.g. Acrylic is used in deep sea submarine windows, riot shields etc.
Acrylic transmits up to 92% of visible light. Mineral glass transmits 80-90%, depending on the type of glass and manufacturer. This is extremely important when comparing load bearing transparent materials at the same depth. Glass windows are usually several centimetres thick, which makes the optical transmittance particularly noticeable. e.g. Bullet proof glass is a well known type of load-bearing glass and transmits, similarly to other types of mineral glass, a white- to green-type of light. This is not observable with Acrylic allowing for optimal viewing e.g. Museums, galleries and Aquariums. It is the ideal choice for boat windows and hatches where size is limited.
The thermal conductivity of acrylic is lower than that of laminated glass therefore thermal insulation of acrylic is better. The possibility of condensation is reduced dramatically compared to that of glass. Acrylics have an excellent insulation value resulting in less heat loss or gain.
It is a common misconception that using acrylic outdoors and exposing it to UV rays leads to “yellowing”. While this might be true for low quality acrylic, Plexiglas and other well known brands are immune against high UV radiation. Up to 30 years are guaranteed by certain manufacturers.
Safety glass on the other hand consists of multiple layers of mineral glazing, separated by plastic laminate. Normal plastic laminates are not resistant against UV and are especially sensitive to humidity.
Acrylic can be moulded and shaped making it ideal for furniture, curved windows, aquariums and pools. Sharp edges can easily be polished smooth.
Scratch Resistance & repair
Acrylic can easily be polished to remove scratches and blemishes. Scuffed mineral glass would on the other hand need to be replaced.