Clear Acrylic Vac Chamber Review

We take a closer look into acrylic vacuum chambers, what they are used for, the advantages and disadvantages of using a clear acrylic vac chambers for vacuum applications, what to look for when buying one, and where to purchase one.

Advantages of using an Acrylic Vacuum Chamber

Front view of our Acrylic Vacuum Chamber
Front view of our Acrylic Vacuum Chamber
Clear view of your vacuum chamber
Acrylic is also known as Plexiglas or Poly(methyl methacrylate). The main reason to use an acrylic chamber is that it allows for full visibility of the interior during operations from all angles. Perhaps you need to see your sample from all sides, a chamber made from acrylic will allow you that. In addition to visibility, acrylic chambers blend in much better into the environment making them look like they are not taking up too much shelf space. Acrylic is much less clunky than steel or aluminum chambers and much more stylish. Acrylic vacuum chambers look a whole lot cleaner than steel or aluminum.

Robust Acrylic Chamber
An advantage of acrylic is that acrylic resembles most of the optical properties of glass. However, acrylic is much more useful than glass because it is 10 - 25 times more impact resistant than glass. Acrylic is less dense than glass making it twice as light. Acrylic will not yellow or blemish over time and will stay crystal clear for years to come. Acrylic transmits up to 92% of all visible light; this makes it one of the clearest materials known to men (glass transmits about 85% of all light). Acrylic is fairly resistant to chemical attacks. Acrylic is robust and will stand up to the elements much longer than any other plastics.

Flexible and Organic
An acrylic vacuum chamber is flexible and will, over time, conform to the assembly it is connected to. After some time, you will notice that your acrylic chamber is working better with your system. This is due to the fact that the acrylic vacuum chamber has molded around your system and now seals better.

Cheap Vacuum Chamber
Finally, vacuum chambers made from acrylic are inexpensive when compared to Steel or Aluminum chambers. Metallic chambers have their place in higher vacuum environments, we will talk more about this later. There are countless examples where acrylic is the better choice due to the fact that a low vacuum is required and a reasonably priced option is sought after.

To summarize, the advantages of using Acrylic Vacuum Chambers are:

  • Cost Effective - Acrylic Chambers cost a lot less than Steel or Aluminum and have their place in low level vacuum applications.
  • Durable – Will stand the test of time and various elements of pressure, temperature, humidity and other climate changes.
  • Robust – Will not blemish or yellow over time.
  • Transparent – Enables you to view your sample during operations from several angles.
  • Light - Per internal space requirements, acrylic is much lighter than Steel or Aluminum.
  • Impact Resistant – Acrylic is more impact resistant than glass.
  • Less dense than glass – Less dense means twice as light than glass.
  • Flexible and Organic - Acrylic Chamber will mold and conform to your system over time.
  • Purchase Our Acrylic Vacuum Chambers Here

    Disadvantages of using a Chamber made from Acrylic

    Using Plexiglas vacuum chambers does have its disadvantages as well. Perhaps you have heard it say that there is no such thing as the perfect material; you have to make choices by artfully balancing the cost, strength, material properties, availability, machinability, weldability, and other pertinent requirements.

    Acrylic is more permeable than metal
    The first disadvantage of acrylic is its permeability. Permeable materials diffuse air more quickly through the walls which means that an acrylic vacuum chamber will be at a persistent vacuum loss over time. This also prevents acrylic chambers from being the appropriate choice in high vacuum applications.

    Acrylic is operates in narrow temperature range
    Acrylic has a melting point of 320 °F (160 °C) and a glass transition temperature of 221 °F (105 °C). This fact eliminates acrylic as a suitable material for high temperature applications. In fact, acrylic vacuum chambers should not be heated beyond 105 °F (40 °C). Likewise acrylic becomes incredibly brittle at temperatures below -112°F (-80 °C), disqualifying it for cryogenic vacuum applications.

    Chemically Susceptible
    Acrylic is not chemically resistant to a some of materials used in labs such as Alcohols, Acetones, Hydrogen Peroxide, Thinners, Benzenes, Lactates, and other. This means that constant exposure these compounds will blemish, even damage the acrylic walls of the chamber.

    Prone to electro-static buildup
    Acrylic Chambers may cause static electricity if "rubbed the wrong way", which may potentially damage electronics, ignite volatile gasses, or create electrostatic noise. Acrylic gets zero shielding from electromagnetic interference but that may only pose a problem if there are strong electric fields in the vicinity.

    Acrylic is strong but brittle
    Another disadvantage of acrylic chambers is that acrylic is brittle and that it will crack under concentrated stresses. This means that it is not recommended to thread acrylic because the force put onto the acrylic from the screw threads will develop cracks and crazes in the acrylic material. Finally, due to its material properties, acrylic vacuum chambers require thick walls even at small vacuum volumes in order to withstand the stress of ambient atmospheric pressure. This results in an exponential wall thickness requirement as the vacuum chamber volume increases; hence, acrylic vacuum chambers may not be ideal materials in large vacuum applications.

    To summarize, the disadvantages of using Acrylic Vacuum Chambers are:

  • Low Vacuum (Permeability) - Acrylic Chambers consistently loose vacuum due to the fact that air transverses through its walls.
  • Room Temperature Only - Acrylic is not suitable for high temperature vacuum applications nor is it suitable for low temperature applications.
  • Chemical Resistance - Acrylic may be damaged by common laboratory chemicals such as alcohols, acetones, thinners, etc.
  • Static Accumulating - may cause electro static discharge causing electron equipment damage.
  • Brittle - Cracks under Concentrated Stresses.
  • Thick Walls - May not be suitable for large sized chambers.
  • What to look for in a Plastic Vacuum Chamber

    Side view of our Transparent Vacuum Chamber with a Coca Cola can in comparison. Side view of our Transparent Vacuum Chamber with a Coca Cola Can in comparison. You can buy it here

    Below, are some of the things that you have to look for before you can make an educated decision about what kind of vacuum chamber to get.

    Vacuum Rating

    The first thing that you will need to look into is the vacuum rating. After all, you are getting a vacuum chamber aren`t you? What vacuum level is the chamber rated to? Most acrylic vac chambers are an excellent solution for degassing compounds and epoxies. A good Acrylic Vacuum Chamber can reach down to a vacuum level of under 1 Torr; anything below 1 Torr is considered superb.

    Internal Chamber Dimensions

    The internal dimensions as opposed to the external dimensions of the chamber should also be considered – you are, after all buying the internal vacuum space of that chamber.

    Vacuum Gauge, Valve, and Components

    Look into what else is included with the deal; is a vacuum gauge included or sold separately, what about valves? Are they included or sold separately? What about shipping? Is this an industrial vac chamber robust to withstand constant use or is it one of these low use types of clear vacuum chambers? Is the listing straight forward or not as descriptive?

    Service

    Are you being served properly? Is the staff helpful and competent? How do you feel about the company? Do you have other concerns or wishes that you need to have addressed? Is your supplier willing to add additional items to your order? Can they customize your chamber? Are they able to? What about delivery, can they deliver on spec, on time, and on budget?

    Acrylic Vacuum Chambers for Sale

    If you have a need for a clear acrylic vacuum chamber, you have come to the right place. We carry a wide selection of acrylic vacuum chambers for sale at a value and price that is truly remarkable! There are 38 different chamber designs and sizes available for you to choose from. All of our acrylic vacuum chambers come with a vacuum gauge, a vacuum valve, and a release valve. Do you need a custom vacuum chamber? We can do that for you as well!

    The inside dimensions range from 8 inches to 20 inches; we have both cubic and cylindrical designs that come with several other options as well. Our standard models have a vacuum rating of 0.5 Torr. Depending on which option you choose, you will have a choice between a fully removable lid (top load model), hinged side door (side load model), a gas spring supported lid (top load model), a door handle or two, and pull toggle clamps.

    Purchase Our Acrylic Vacuum Chambers Here

    Where else to get a Transparent Vacuum Chamber

    We are going to review several other places that offer a see through vacuum chamber. It all depends on what you are looking for. What are your priorities when it comes to your purchase? Are you just looking to pull a low vacuum? Are you looking to get the cheapest transparent chamber possible? Do you want durability and robustness? Is this a light use or a more heavy industrial use?

    What we are going to do is provide you with several places where you can purchase your chamber online. Below is a table summary of several places that sell acrylic vacuum chambers. We understand that we are now promoting our competition but we do this because we are confident that you are going to get the best value, highest quality, most bang for the buck and most features from our chambers. However, you are free to shop around, so here they come:


    1. Our Acrylic Vacuum Chambers
    We were not kidding when we said that our chambers are the most value for the least buck.

    2. Abbess Instruments
    Abbess Instruments is another acrylic vacuum chamber supplier, their chambers will pump down to less than 1 Torr at a price that is somewhat a little steep.

    3. Cleatech
    Cleatech vac chambers come at a reasonable price; however, they will pump down as low and are only rated to 29.8in Hg or about 3 Torr.

    4. Terra universal
    Their product comes at a somewhat expensive price but their chambers will go down to about 29.9 in Hg or less than 1 Torr.

    5. Plas Labs
    Plas Labs vacuum chambers are fairly cheap but they will only pump down to about 25 in Hg or somewhere about 120 Torr.

    6. Best value Vacs
    Best value vacs is the source of cheap economy vacuum chambers including clear acrylic vac chamber. But, the cost savings come at a cost of not as high vacuum levels to about 29.5 in Hg which equals to about 11 Torr.

    7. Ideal vacuum Products
    The vacuum chambers coming from this vendor will go down to about 0.001 Torr at a very reasonable price.

    8. LACO Technologies
    Laco acrylic chambers are rated to about 29.9 in Hg or 0.1 Torr and come at a competitive price.

    9. Amazon or Ebay
    You may also want to search on amazon or ebay for acrylic chambers as well.

    10. Thomas Net
    You can also shop or call around on Thomas Net to see if more places sell plastic vacuum chambers

    Do you know of any other places that sell acrylic chambers? Contact us to have them added to this list at info@sanatron.com

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