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Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association

Poly(methyl methacrylate), the Scottish Connection

Topic Details

  1. Development in 1932 of an economic route to the monomer by Glaswegian Dr John William Croom Crawford at ICI Ardeer led to the polymer we know today by its trade names "Perspex", "Plexiglas" and "Lucite"

Date & Time

22 June 2017 6:30pm


Glasgow City Chambers
George Square, Glasgow G2 1DU, UK


Poly(methyl methacrylate), probably better known by its trade names "Perspex", "Plexiglas" and "Lucite", remains  one of the world's leading polymer types, with applications as diverse as optical fibres, cataract replacement lenses, aircraft glazing and designer kitchen sinks!

Sometimes overlooked, however, is Scotland's role in the commercial development of the polymer.  Although methyl methacrylate polymers had been known since the late 19th century, it was only through the development in 1932 of an economic route to the monomer by Glaswegian Dr John William Croom Crawford at ICI Ardeer that the polymer came to the market in the form that we know it today.  Known as the Stevenston Process, Dr Crawford's pivotal chemistry, with some modification, is still in use worldwide today.

To mark the thirty years after Dr Crawford's death, Glasgow City Council and the RSC West of Scotland Local Section, in association with the Society of Chemical Industry and the Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association, will celebrate his life and work with a Civic Reception to be held in Glasgow City Chambers on June 22nd 2017.    The evening (6.30 for 7 pm) will begin with a lecture on Dr Crawford's work and times with the reception thereafter.  Younger scientists from the University of Strathclyde will also demonstrate, through poster presentations, that Scotland continues to generate significant economic and social impact through leading-edge polymer science.

All SPRA Members are cordially invited to the Civic Reception.  For more information and to register for the event, please contact Dr John Liggat.

Corporate Members

Technical Info from SPRA

  • Materials Thermoplastics, Thermosets, Elastomers, Additives.
  • Processes Moulding, Extrusion, Thermoforming, Ancillaries.
  • Design Product, Mould, CAE, Testing.
  • Applications Healthcare, Packaging, Electronics, Other Markets.
  • Environment Waste, Recycling, Sustainability, Legislation, Energy.
  • Business Issues Network, Seminars, Competitiveness, Innovation, Regulation.