Acrylic vs. Lucite

What's the Difference?

Acrylic and Lucite are both types of transparent thermoplastic materials commonly used in various applications. While they share similar properties and characteristics, there are some differences between the two. Acrylic, also known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), is a generic term used to describe a range of acrylic-based materials. It is lightweight, durable, and has excellent optical clarity. Lucite, on the other hand, is a brand name for a specific type of acrylic resin. It is known for its high-quality clarity, making it a popular choice for applications where optical transparency is crucial, such as in display cases or architectural elements. Overall, both acrylic and Lucite offer similar benefits, but Lucite is often associated with superior clarity and higher quality.


CompositionPolymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
ClarityHigh clarityHigh clarity
Scratch ResistanceGoodGood
UV ResistanceGoodGood
Chemical ResistanceResistant to many chemicalsResistant to many chemicals
Heat ResistanceGoodGood

Further Detail


When it comes to choosing the right material for various applications, it is important to consider the specific attributes and characteristics of each option. Acrylic and Lucite are two popular materials that are often used interchangeably, but they do have some distinct differences. In this article, we will explore the attributes of both Acrylic and Lucite, highlighting their similarities and differences to help you make an informed decision.

Definition and Composition

Acrylic, also known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), is a transparent thermoplastic that is derived from acrylic acid. It is a synthetic material that is made by polymerizing methyl methacrylate monomers. Lucite, on the other hand, is a brand name for a type of acrylic resin. It is essentially a form of acrylic that is manufactured by the Lucite International company. Both Acrylic and Lucite share similar chemical compositions, with Acrylic being the broader term that encompasses various brands and types of acrylic resins.

Transparency and Clarity

One of the key attributes of both Acrylic and Lucite is their excellent transparency and clarity. They both offer a high level of light transmission, making them ideal for applications where visibility is important. Whether used for windows, signage, or display cases, Acrylic and Lucite provide a crystal-clear view. However, it is worth noting that Lucite is often associated with a higher level of clarity due to its manufacturing process, which involves a specialized technique to minimize impurities and enhance transparency.

Durability and Strength

When it comes to durability and strength, both Acrylic and Lucite offer impressive performance. They are known for their resistance to impact, making them less prone to shattering compared to glass. Acrylic and Lucite are also highly resistant to UV radiation, which means they are less likely to yellow or become brittle over time when exposed to sunlight. However, it is important to note that Lucite, being a brand name, may have specific formulations that enhance its durability and strength, potentially making it slightly more robust than generic acrylic resins.

Flexibility and Moldability

Acrylic and Lucite are both highly versatile materials that can be easily shaped and molded into various forms. They have excellent thermoforming properties, allowing them to be heated and bent without losing their structural integrity. This flexibility makes them suitable for a wide range of applications, including curved displays, architectural features, and even furniture. Whether you choose Acrylic or Lucite, you can expect a material that can be easily customized to meet your specific design requirements.

Scratch Resistance

When it comes to scratch resistance, both Acrylic and Lucite offer good performance. They have a smooth surface that is less prone to scratches compared to other materials like glass. However, it is important to note that while Acrylic and Lucite are resistant to minor scratches, they are not completely scratch-proof. In high-traffic areas or applications where frequent contact with abrasive materials is expected, additional protective measures may be necessary to maintain the pristine appearance of the material.


Acrylic and Lucite find extensive use in a wide range of applications due to their desirable attributes. Some common applications include:

  • Signage and displays
  • Architectural glazing
  • Furniture and home decor
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Automotive parts
  • Medical devices
  • Aquariums and fish tanks

Both Acrylic and Lucite offer the versatility and performance required for these applications, making them popular choices in various industries.


Cost is often a significant factor when choosing between Acrylic and Lucite. Generally, Acrylic is more readily available and tends to be more affordable compared to Lucite. Lucite, being a brand name, may come with a premium price tag due to its reputation for superior clarity and quality. However, the cost difference may vary depending on the specific formulation, thickness, and size of the material required for a particular project. It is advisable to consider your budget and project requirements when making a decision based on cost.


Acrylic and Lucite are both excellent materials that offer transparency, durability, flexibility, and scratch resistance. While they share many similarities, Lucite is often associated with higher clarity and potentially enhanced durability due to its specialized manufacturing process. However, it is important to note that the specific attributes and performance of Acrylic and Lucite may vary depending on the brand, formulation, and manufacturing techniques used. Ultimately, the choice between Acrylic and Lucite will depend on your specific needs, budget, and desired aesthetic outcome.

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