Acrylic panel as a structural element
Acrylic is quite an unusual material for the optical and mechanical properties. Its optical properties have found application in the construction of a variety of facilities: swimming pools and underwater windows in swimming pools, aquariums, oceanariums.
Because of its transparency, acrylic panels are often used in cases requiring high resistance of material to static and dynamic loads. For example, like an underwater window in a swimming pool. In this case, the mechanical properties of the material come to the fore. When they are properly installed, the acrylic panel not only provide excellent optical properties (high transparency and UV resistance), but also able to withstand heavy static and dynamic loads.
The most important thing when designing structural acrylic elements, which will be able to withstand great pressure - the selection of the material with maximum endurance, allowing the acrylic panels to avoid cracking.
To calculate the endurance of acrylic is more difficult than, for example, of metal, because this quality depends on many factors: temperature, pressure on the material. Because of the temperature and duration of the pressure, the designer in calculating the endurance of the material must take into account: temperature, load duration, the dimension of capacity, design features of the tank, the presence of pressure (short-term and permanent loads on the glass). And theseare only the basic factors of influence on the calculation of the acrylic panel - many additional factors comes up during the calculation works.
After carrying out the relevant calculations, we get the size of the acrylic panel, which is necessary for the installation of the glazing. After the results of this calculation we get the graph of deflection of the acrylic panel with a minimum number of critical deflection points.
It should be noted that only the designer of the acrylic panels have sufficient knowledge and experience to choose the pointsfor the calculations: on analysis by finite element method (FEM) or selected empirically endurance of the material.
With proper care, acrylic components can serve much longer than it is supposed without the appearance of cracks and the need for polishing or replacement of the acrylic panels.