Trademark names of the organic compound polymethyl methacrylate, a synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate. Colourless and highly transparent, the solid material has high dimensional stability and good resistance to weathering and shock. It is used in aircraft canopies and windows, in boat windshields, and as a general alternative to glass in many applications. An object made of Lucite has the unusual property of keeping a beam of light reflected within its surfaces and thus carrying the beam around bends and corners; Lucite is therefore used in devices for illuminating interior organs during surgery as well as for ornaments, medallions, and lenses.
Learn more about Lucite with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Methyl methacrylate is an organic compound with the formula CH2=C(CH3)CO2CH3. This colourless liquid, the methyl ester of methacrylic acid (MAA) is the monomer for the production of the transparent plastic polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
Most producers apply an acetone cyanohydrin (ACH) route, with acetone and hydrogen cyanide as raw materials. The intermediate cyanohydrin is converted with sulfuric acid to a sulfate ester of the methacrylamide, hydrolysis of which gives ammonium bisulfate and MAA. Some Asian producers start with an isobutylene or, equivalently, tert-butanol, which is oxidized to methacrolein, and again oxidized to methacrylic acid. MAA is then esterified with methanol to MMA. Propene can be carbonylated in the presence of acids to isobutyric acid, which undergoes subsequent dehydrogenation.
A newer palladium-catalysed MMA production technology, announced 18th September 2007, uses a homogeneous palladium-phosphine catalyst. Lucite's Alpha process uses ethylene, carbon monoxide, and methanol as raw materials to produce methyl propionate, which is then combined with formaldehyde to produce MMA and water.
Methyl methacrylate polymers and co-polymers are used for waterborne coatings, such as latex house paint. It is also used in adhesive formulations.
A modern application is the use in plates that keep light spread evenly across LCD computer and TV screens.
Methyl methacrylate is also used to prepare corrosion casts of anatomical organs, such as coronary arteries of the heart.
Polymethyl methacrylate: Respiratory insufficiency associated with pulmonary emboli following percutaneous vertebroplasty in an elderly patient: case report
Jun 14, 2008; A 77-year-old woman developed respiratory insufficiency associated with pulmonary emboli after undergoing percutaneous...
WIPO ASSIGNS PATENT TO SUNJIN CHEMICAL FOR "POROUS POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE POWDER CONTAINING FUNCTIONAL MATERIAL FOR COSMETICS, PREPARATION METHOD THEREOF, AND COSMETIC COMPOSITION CONTAINING SAME" (SOUTH KOREAN INVENTORS)
Jun 10, 2011; GENEVA, June 10 -- Publication No. WO/2011/068333 was published on June 09. Title of the invention: "POROUS POLYMETHYL...
Use of antibiotic-loaded polymethyl methacrylate beads in the management of musculoskeletal sepsis-a retrospective study
Jun 01, 2003; ABSTRACT Purpose. To assess the use of antibiotic-loaded polymethyl methacrylate beads in the management of chronic osteomyelitis...
Research and Markets Offers Report: Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) Market By Application, Grade & Form - Global Trends & Forecasts (2012 - 2017)
Jul 28, 2012; Wireless News 07-28-2012 Research and Markets Offers Report: Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) Market By Application, Grade & Form -...