Plexiglas Celebrates 75th Anniversary | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 39 | p. 18 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 29, 2008

Plexiglas Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Department: Business
Credit: Air Force

Arkema is celebrating three-quarters of a century of the transparent acrylic plastic Plexiglas. In 1933, German chemist Otto Röhm polymerized methyl methacrylate between two panes of glass to yield a material he called "organic glass." Rohm and Haas introduced Plexiglas commercially three years later. The U.S. military was impressed by the polymer's shatter resistance. It used the material in tens of thousands of aircraft produced during World War II, including the nose of the B-17 Flying Fortress. After the war, Plexiglas found peacetime use in signage and store displays, which are still major applications. A series of corporate transactions later put the business in Arkema's hands.

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