Have you ever wondered how they make super-thin, transparent plastics, like those used for eye contacts? It’s called vapor polishing. This is a technique used to polish or finish a plastic product to achieve transparency. So how exactly does this work? Read on to learn more.
How Does Vapor Polishing Work?
Vapor polishing is a technique that smooths out plastic resin material at the microscopic level to get the desired effect. This is done using a Weldon 4 solvent that reacts with the surface chemistry of polycarbonates. This solvent is heated to boiling and the vapors are sprayed on the plastic. The plastic surface then melts and fills in the small holes and scratches. When the vapor is gone, the plastic once again becomes solid.
Does the Plastic Need to Be Sanded?
Yes. Since vapor polishing works at the molecular level, it can’t take out large deformities in the plastic. For that reason, Acrylic Art will sand your parts before we vapor polish to a surface between 1000 and 1500 grit. From here, the vapor polishing only takes a few seconds before the product is finished.
Can Anyone Perform Vapor Polishing?
No. Vapor polishing should only be performed by a trained professional as the process could be dangerous if you breathe in the vapors In fact, vapor polishing is done in a highly controlled environment where the worker wears a breathing respirator. There are also suited up workers stationed outside the working chamber to offer assistance if needed. For all these reasons, it is advised not to try this on your own.
Does Vapor Polishing Harm the Environment?
No. When vapor polishing is done safely, it is not bad for the environment. Our facility pulls the vapors through a three-stage carbon filter to avoid any contamination to the atmosphere.
How Long Does Vapor Polishing Take?
The lead time on vapor polishing is short. In fact, once the vapor is applied to the plastic, it only takes a few seconds for it to become clear. There is no need for repeated exposure to the surface area. This means a large piece of plastic can be vapor polished in just minutes. After the vapor is taken away, the item becomes hard and is ready for use.
Is Vapor Polishing Cost-Effective?
Yes, especially when compared to hand or machine polishing. Furthermore, it would be impossible to polish by hand those geometric shapes with recesses and pockets. With vapor polishing, however, you can reach the deepest grooves for an even polish. The result is then immediate.
Is Vapor Polishing Right for You?
At Acrylic Art, we are here to help you with any vapor polishing project. We also offer an array of other finishing services. Contact us today to achieve the desired finished project you want. Our friendly team can be reached at 510-654-0953.