Lucite vs Plastic: Difference and Comparison

Plastics are used extensively in a variety of ways.

From polyethene carry bags, straws, plastic bottles, pipes, syringes, and containers to being used in making automobile parts and even in space stations, plastics are a versatile material utilized in preparing so many necessary items. Still,

the fact that plastics are non-biodegradable and hazardous to the environment cannot be ignored.

There are many types of plastics, like low-density polyethene, high-density polyethene, polyvinyl chloride, lucite, etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. Lucite is a type of acrylic resin known for its clarity, transparency, and glass-like appearance, while plastic is a broad term that refers to a wide range of synthetic materials.
  2. Another difference is that Lucite is more expensive and is of higher quality than most plastics.
  3. Lastly, Lucite is used for high-end products such as jewellery, furniture, and aircraft windows. In contrast, plastic is used for various products, including toys, packaging, and construction materials.

Lucite vs Plastic

Lucite is a type of thermoplastic that is known for its transparency, strength, and resistance to shattering. Plastic, on the other hand, is a general term that can refer to a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials, including various types of polymers and resins.

Lucite vs Plastic

Lucite is more transparent, denser, stronger, and heavier than plastic, which can be transparent and opaque and is lighter, weaker, and less dense than lucite. Plastics can be easily moulded in shape, while lucite needs to be engraved since the former is fragile and weaker compared to the latter, which is denser and stronger. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison LucitePlastic
Definition Lucite is a transparent thermoplastic and is the polymethyl methyl acrylate trade name. It is an acrylic material.Plastic is fragile and weaker compared to lucite and can be esily moulded.
Weight Comparison Lucite is heavier compared to plastic.Plastics are lighter and more fragile compared to lucite.
Appearance Lucite has the properties of plastic and glass and is thus transparent and clearer than plastic.Plastic is opaque though it may be transparent also.
DensityLucite is denser compared to plastic.Plastic is not as dense as lucite.
NatureLucite is acrylic and transparent and needs to be engraved. Plastic is synthetic or semi-synthetic and can be moulded into things.
Strength comparison Lucite is stronger than plastic, and it needs to be carved out.Plastic is fragile and wthanred to lucite and can be easily moulded.

What is Lucite?

Lucite is a trading name for polymethyl methyl acrylate or PMMA, also known as acrylic, plexiglass, or acrylic glass.

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Other trading names for PMMA are Crylux, Plexiglas, Acrylite, Astariglas, Perspex, Perclax, etc.

It is a thermoplastic with a density of around 1.2g/cm3. It is a high-quality plastic having the properties of both plastic and glass.

It may sometimes be referred to as a type of glass, thus the name acrylic glass or plexiglass. It is a synthetic polymer made of the subunits of methyl methacrylate.

It is sometimes used as an alternative to glasses. It has high tensile strength and is denser, heavier, and clearer than plastics.

There are many methods to prepare lucite, the most common being radical polymerization. Almost all commercial PMMAs are prepared from radical polymerization.

Some methods are emulsion polymerization, solution polymerization, bulk polymerization, and radical polymerization.


What is Plastic?

Plastics are polymers made of repeated units called monomers.

They are prepared from petrochemicals like petroleum or natural gas produced by refining crude oil.

Since plastics are non-biodegradable and hazardous to the environment, safer alternatives to prepare them are 

The use of plastics is widespread. We come across a variety of plastics in our daily lives.

Some products made from plastics are toys, toothbrushes, polyethene bags, syringes, pipes, water bottles, and so many other things. It’s even used in vehicles, space stations, medical equipment, construction, etc.

They can be easily moulded or pressed into various shapes and sizes. They are lighter, flexible, and durable; therefore, there is a wide range of plastics.

There can be various considerations while categorizing plastics, like their physical or chemical properties, production methods or qualities.

Some of the common types of plastics are as follows:

  1. Specialist plastics
  2. Common plastics
  3. Amorphous plastics 
  4. Crystalline plastics
  5. Biodegradable plastics 
  6. Bioplastics
  7. Thermoplastics 
  8. Thermosetting polymers
  9. Conductive polymers
Also Read:  Acrylic Glass vs Plexiglass: Difference and Comparison

In plastics, various additives are added to enhance their function and durability.

The common additives added to plastics are plasticizers, stabilizers, flame retardants, fillers, reinforcements, colourants, biocides, and release agents.

Some examples of plastics are:

  1. Bakelite

This was the first plastic prepared from phenol and formaldehyde.

  1. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

This is made from the monomers of vinyl chloride.

  1. Polystyrene

It’s made from the monomers of styrene.

  1. Nylon

There are different types of nylons, like nylon6, nylon66, nylon11, etc.

  1. Polyethene

It is made of the subunits of ethylene and is a very common example of plastic.


Main Differences Between Lucite and Plastic

  1. Lucite is a thermoplastic and is the trade name of polymethyl methyl acrylate. At the same time, plastic is a synthetic or semi-synthetic polymer that is made up of repeated components called monomers.
  2. Lucite is more transparent and clearer than plastic which can be transparent and opaque.
  3. There are many types of plastics, as plastic is a broader term, while lucite itself is a type of plastic having properties of plastic and glass.
  4. Plastic, being more delicate than lucite, can be moulded into things, while lucite needs to be carved out.
  5. Lucite is heavier, denser, and stronger than plastics.
  6. There are many categories of plastics, while lucite doesn’t have any such category.
Difference Between Lucite and Plastic

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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18 thoughts on “Lucite vs Plastic: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Personally, I think this post fails to address the environmental impact of plastics. The focus on lucite seems unnecessary.


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