Acrylic: At Sea and Underwater

Lucite International – Applications for acrylic are not limited to the land on which we live; it is also ideally suited for use at sea and underwater due to its high performance qualities that include brilliant optical clarity and exceptional strength and durability. From helping scientists to explore the depths of the ocean in submersibles, to giving people the ultimate dining and relaxation experiences in underwater restaurants, acrylic truly is everywhere.

Have you noticed how developers are using aquaria to entertain and soothe visitors in shopping malls, restaurants and spas? Acrylic is often chosen as the perfect material for this purpose, mostly due to its physical properties; it can be fabricated to create one large viewing panel, and with 92% light transmission it offers unimpeded views of everything from tropical fish, sharks and stingray to tropical reefs and marine wonders – the best possible experience for viewers.

Some years ago now, one of our biggest US customers, Reynolds Polymer Technology Inc. (RPT), created 41 R-Cast® acrylic panels for the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium, the AquaDom in Berlin, Germany. The ground-breaking aquarium, made possible because of the sheer strength and durability of acrylic and the design, manufacturing and installation capabilities of RPT, holds one million litres of saltwater. Its immense size and shape create a true spectacle.

Scientists have been discovering more and more about the normally inaccessible depths of the world’s oceans with the help of acrylic. UK-based company, Blanson has been at the forefront of developing the latest generation of pressure resistant acrylic dome windows and lenses required for submarines and mini submersible vehicles. Using acrylic domes in submersibles based on their pioneering work, it is now possible to access depths up to 1000m as the entire vehicle is able to withstand pressure 100 times greater than that at the water’s surface.

Even when you are exploring the seas for leisure, you are likely to bump into acrylic. When venturing out on a speedboat, yacht or cruiser, you might well be looking through acrylic windshields or window glazing at your surroundings. Lighter than glass and offering double the impact resistance, acrylic is ideal for yacht glazing and its excellent weatherability ensures consistent performance when the weather can be harsh at sea.

The unpredictable weather at sea means there is a high risk of breaking drinking glasses on board, and often people choose to drink out of plastic cups to prevent this from happening. However, Perspex® acrylic has been used to produce a gold medal award winning innovation that allows you to have glass on board and keep it safe. ‘Yacht Class’ is a range of holders for glasses and bottles that are specially designed and made from Perspex® acrylic to allow safe use of glassware on yachts. Silicon pads ensure that holders are attached securely to the yacht’s surfaces and the holders come in a variety of colors, finished with high quality steel posts to complete the luxury look.

So whether you are relaxing in a spa that is beneath the ocean surface, viewing exotic marine life through exceptionally clear panels, or exploring the depths of the ocean in submersibles, acrylic really is everywhere, even at sea!

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