Acrylic stone is a versatile material with the help of which one can create a unique design. Acrylic stone is also called artificial stone, for it is a composite material obtained in laboratory conditions. First acrylic stone was created by American company “DuPont” in 1966. Note that the company is known all over the world as it produced a variety of advanced polymeric materials, including common teflon and nylon. The earliest specimens of acrylic stone «DuPont» were released in 1968 under the brand name «Corian» in four colors: «Olive Mist», «Autumn Gold», «Comeo White» and «Dawn Beige». Today, acrylic stone «Corian» is released in more than 100 colors, but it is still of high-quality, expensive and in-demand. Besides, the colors «Comeo White» and «Dawn Beige» remain unchangeably popular. Soon, in 1995, Concern «DuPont» suggested another brand of acrylic stone – «Montelli». Its color palette includes about 73 shades; it doesn’t yield to «Corian» in all characteristics, but its cost is many times less. This is because the production is carried out in China with lower manufacturing costs, and the application of another form of acrylic resins.
At first only the concern «DuPont» had a patent for the production of acrylic stone, but since 1981 other manufacturers appeared. For example, nowadays acrylic stone of «Staron» (Samsung Cheil Industries Ink.), «Hi-Macs» (LG Chem), «Akrilika», «Hanex» and many other brands are also very popular.
Acrylic Stone and its production technology
The main peculiarity of producing the acrylic stone is that the material is 75% natural raw material – it may be marble chips, white clay and other minerals. Acrylic resin is used as binder. It is this component that provides high strength of artificial stone as well as its durability. It also includes aluminum trihydrate. Despite its “terrible” name, this component is obtained from the white clay powder. But the acrylic resin (in its different variations) is used for making toothpaste, dental fillings and dentures. The last component of the acrylic stone structure is color pigments. As you can see, the material composition does not include dangerous substances.
Mixing and processing of these components are carried out at the expense of special vacuum mixers. The resulting mass is put in molds of 700-3600 mm. Thereafter, the formation of the material begins. Obtained sheets are of standard thickness – 6 mm, 9 mm and 12 mm (12.3 mm). Note that these sizes are the same for all manufacturers. Another peculiarity of the technology is deep dyeing. It means that not only the upper layers, but the entire structure of artificial stone has homogeneous tint. The stone structure itself is not layered, but integral – it doesn’t have micropores at all.
Acrylic Stone and its features
Acrylic stone is a very durable material. It has high impact resistance (need to try hard to get cleaves), it does not develop cracks. If the scratch appeared, it can be easily removed by grinding (but it’s applicable not to all brands). Acrylic stone is not used for external facework, because it reacts badly to a constantly low temperature. The surface of acrylic stone is very easy to clean, and it is also resistant to mold, fungus and other nasty parasites. In addition, the texture of acrylic stone varies greatly and is perfect for original designs. Let us remark that the products of artificial stone are not commercially available, but are made to order. Thus, this material makes it possible to implement exclusive projects. Since the acrylic stone is very plastic, the products of any shape can be made of it. The formation of products is carried out by means of thermoforming. One can create complex curved lines, incrust them with the elements of other materials, each product being made according to weldless technology. In order to connect some elements, special glue is used, the color of which suits the color of acrylic stone, and then it undergoes polishing. Note that the surface of the acrylic stones can be matte, semi-matte, semi-gloss and glossy. There are also translucent plates. They occur in light shades (glacial colors), or simply as thin slabs of acrylic stone. Designers use this material to create projects with unique lighting effects, and even to create lighting devices.
The use of acrylic stone
Acrylic stone is used in the interior. For example, sinks, windowsills, countertops, bar counters and wainscots are made of it. Acrylic stone is also good for interior decorating. Single pieces of furniture are often made of acrylic stone. Due to the fact that acrylic stone is safe for human health and easy to clean, it is also used in health care institutions. For example, it is quite typical for European operating room or laboratory to be faced completely with acrylic stone. Considering the size of the acrylic stone slabs, 6 mm thick slabs are typically used for wainscoting. Slabs with a thickness of 9 mm are suitable for such surfaces that do not undergo hard temperature loads. Sheets, which are 12 mm thick, are suitable for making heavy-duty surfaces.