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Are Acrylic And Perspex Screens the Same Thing?

Posted By:

Office Screens UK

Date:

24/11/2021

Reading Time:

6 Mins

Are Acrylic And Perspex Screens the Same Thing?

When searching for an office screen or partition divider, you will often see the terms ‘Perspex’ and ‘acrylic’ used - particularly when referencing social distancing screens. But what is the difference between Perspex® Screens and Acrylic Office Screens? Are they the same thing? Is one better than the other? Why are they chosen to manufacture social distancing screens? 

Answers to all these questions and more are in this blog, where we’ll discuss the unique properties of Perspex acrylic, the material benefits of using it to construct office screens, and why so-called ‘social distancing screens’ are so very necessary even as Coronavirus case numbers stabilise. 

What is Acrylic? 

Acrylic is a thermoplastic homopolymer; a form of strong, durable plastic available in a wide range of colours and finishes. Also known as PMMA, or Poly(methyl methacrylate), acrylic is a common substitute for glass in products where a strong, shatter-proof and lightweight finish is required. First produced in 1928, WWII saw some of the first practical applications of acrylic for plane windows, turrets, and canopies as well as submarine periscopes. It was soon discovered that, thanks to its unique properties, the eye injuries in particular caused by shards of acrylic caused significantly less long-term damage than those caused by glass. As a result, acrylic has since often been chosen as a lightweight and strong replacement for glass. 

What is Perspex®?

Perspex® is a trade name of Lucite International; it’s a branded form of acrylic produced from methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA). It is manufactured to extremely high standards and is widely considered to be the best acrylic available. It is typically cast directly from monomer between two sheets of high-quality glass, before being polymerised in batches in special ovens and water baths. It is a carefully controlled process from start to finish. Perspex® is a recyclable material, though it requires special treatment to be recycled.

Are Perspex and acrylic the same thing?

Yes - put simply, Perspex® and acrylic are the same thing. Perspex® is simply a specific, branded form of acrylic made to an exceptionally high quality.

Why is acrylic/Perspex a good material to use for social distancing screens?

One of the key qualities of transparent acrylic Perspex® is that it has outstanding optical clarity. In fact, it allows 92% of light rays to pass through it, meaning that the introduction of acrylic or Perspex® social distancing screens won’t make your office darker or more gloomy. In fact, the high-quality Perspex® we use in our social distancing screens has a better optical clarity even than glass - so you can guarantee your employees a light, bright workspace while offering excellent protection. The transparency of these screens has another benefit - in contrast to the totally opaque fabric-based screens, they allow easy communication between employees, allowing you to maintain a collaborative work environment even when Covid case numbers are on the rise.

In addition, Perspex® and acrylic are materials that are easy to keep clean and sanitised; this is important for preserving a hygienic, socially distanced workspace. To remove any build-up of infectious particles on the screen surface, you can use a diluted bleach solution, wipe with an antibacterial spray, or use specialised sanitising cloths. 

Why are social distancing screens important?

Social distancing screens have become an essential part of our everyday lives since the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. As with many other illnesses, the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to reduce the opportunity for infectious particles from one person to infect another. As a result, the WHO and the UK Government issued a number of guidelines and regulations such as the use of hand sanitiser, the wearing of face masks, and the installation of social distancing screens in places where close contact was required between different people.

The UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advised that offices and other workplaces ensured their employees were kept at least 2m apart. A study by SAGE suggested that ‘the risk of exposure to such particles is reduced by between 2 to 10 times if they are 2 metres apart compared to 1 metre.’ Social distancing screens were introduced as an alternative to the 2m distance rule, as a acrylic, glass or Perspex® protective screen set up between employees blocks the transmission of respiratory particles, for protection equivalent to or better than the 2m distance - making them an essential tool in the fight against Covid.

ACHOO Modular Desk Partitions

ACHOO® Crystal Clear Modular Desk Screens 6 Bay Workstation Dividers

Free Standing Perspex® Office Screens

ACHOO Modular Desk Partitions


For more information about any of our Acrylic, Glazed or Perspex Office screens, please Contact Us or call us on 01234 676767.

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