The U.S. polymethyl methacrylate film & sheet market size is expected to reach USD 1.11 Billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The proliferation of high-speed internet has driven online retail and shopping trends, positively impacting the demand for LED displays and communication signage in physical retail stores, to compete with these virtual outlets.
What Is PMMA?
PMMA (poly (methyl methacrylate)), commonly known as acrylic, is a transparent thermoplastic that is generally used as a lightweight-shatter-resistant glass alternative. PMMA has various other names such as acrylic glass and plexiglass, and is sold under various brand names such as Plexiglas, Lucite, Perclax, Crylux, Acrylite and Perspex. The material is formed through the polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer. Besides being a glass-alternative, it can also be used as a casting resin, or in coatings and inks.
Innovations such as anti-algae coatings, non-yellowing sheets that offer high protection against UV and rain, and unusual design flexibility offered for construction applications have also contributed to industry growth in recent years. Among all the thermoplastics, this particular plastic possesses the highest surface hardness and is different from conventional plastics owing to its unique properties such as high transparency, UV resistance, high durability and recyclability.
Properties & Manufacturing
PMMA is completely recyclable as it can be broken down into its constituent parts by using the special thermal process. The product is heated to around 400 degrees Celsius to obtain the staring material methyl methacrylate (MMA). On distillation of the liquid MMA to over 99% purity we get the original material back which can be used again as a starting material. It is an economical alternative for polycarbonate, in matters of flexural strength, tensile strength, UV tolerance and transparency. Another advantage over polycarbonate is that PMMA does not contain bisphenol-A subunits, which are potentially harmful.
Further key findings from the report suggest
- The automotive and advertising sectors have seen growth in the popularity of bio-based PMMA, on account of the low toxicity of PMMA and its high biodegradability.
- There has been heavy spending in the construction sector in the United States, as there has been further improvement in the living standards owing to decreasing unemployment. This again has contributed to the demand growth for the product.
- Another area where PMMA films and sheets have found heavy usage is defense and aerospace, and with the U.S. being a heavy spender in these areas, the product is expected to witness high demand.
- PMMA sheets and films offer high design flexibility and scratch resistance, and this is again conducive to its growth in the region, with the U.S. being a leading vehicle manufacturing region.
- The major market players include Evonik Industries, Arkema Group, Lucite International, Unigel Group, Plazit-Polygal Group, PolyOne Corporation, SABIC and Plaskolite.