Injection Moulding Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA or Acrylic)

Material Description

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA), commonly known as Acrylic, is a transparent thermoplastic polymer renowned for its exceptional optical clarity, impact resistance, and versatility. PMMA is composed of repeating methyl methacrylate monomer units, resulting in a high molecular weight polymer. Its transparency, which rivals that of glass, is attributed to the amorphous nature of its molecular structure, allowing for the efficient transmission of visible light. PMMA exhibits a remarkable combination of mechanical properties, including a high tensile strength, making it more impact-resistant than glass, albeit slightly less so than other engineering plastics like polycarbonate. This material is lightweight, with a density of approximately 1.19 g/cm³, which further contributes to its popularity in various applications. Additionally, PMMA is characterized by excellent weatherability, resisting degradation from UV radiation, and maintaining its optical clarity over extended periods. Its thermal properties are also noteworthy, with a glass transition temperature of around 105°C, making it suitable for both ambient and elevated-temperature applications. PMMA can be easily fabricated through processes such as injection molding, extrusion, and machining, offering design flexibility for a wide range of products, from optical lenses and signage to medical devices and automotive components. However, it is important to note that PMMA is relatively brittle compared to some other polymers, and it may exhibit crazing or cracking when subjected to stress, particularly in the presence of certain chemicals, so careful consideration of its application environment is crucial.

Tensile Yield
Modulus (MPa)
Point (°C)
Coefficient of
(x 10^-6 /°C)
Absorption (%)
1180 - 120050 - 802.9 - 3.3160-1650.17 - 0.201.3 - 1.970 - 1100.3 - 1.0

Design Recommendation

When designing for Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) in injection molding, it is crucial to consider its unique material properties. PMMA has a relatively low melt flow index and is sensitive to high processing temperatures, making it prone to thermal degradation and surface defects if not handled carefully. Therefore, it is recommended to use a controlled and well-distributed melt temperature within the recommended range (220-250°C) to prevent polymer degradation and minimize the risk of flow lines or bubbles in the final part. Additionally, a mold with smooth and polished surfaces is essential to achieve high optical clarity in PMMA parts, as any imperfections on the mold surface can transfer onto the final product. Furthermore, adjusting the injection speed and pressure to reduce shear stress on the material is crucial for preventing internal stresses and ensuring the final component’s structural integrity. Proper gate design, typically a fan or edge gate, helps in reducing visible gate marks and minimizing part distortion. These considerations are essential in achieving high-quality PMMA injection-molded parts with excellent optical properties.

Cost Saving Tip

Cost-saving in Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) or Acrylic injection molding can be achieved through a combination of optimized processing parameters and material management strategies. Firstly, controlling the melt temperature within the recommended range (usually 230-250°C) is crucial to avoid overheating, which can degrade the polymer and increase production costs. Additionally, implementing a robust mold design with proper venting and cooling channels can significantly reduce cycle times, ultimately saving energy and enhancing production efficiency. It is also essential to minimize regrind usage, as excessive reprocessing of PMMA can result in reduced mechanical properties and increased scrap rates, impacting overall production costs. Careful attention to part design for moldability, such as reducing thick sections and implementing uniform wall thickness, helps reduce material usage and, in turn, lowers cost. Lastly, exploring the possibility of recycling or reusing PMMA scraps and off-cuts can lead to substantial savings in material costs and contribute to sustainability efforts, provided that quality standards are met and maintained. By incorporating these technical considerations, manufacturers can achieve significant cost savings in the injection molding of PMMA while maintaining product quality and integrity.