Acetal vs. Acrylic. Ready? Fight!
Well here I am happy that I finally pulled the triggered and bought most all of the parts I need for my first WC setup (including a DD 4870x2 WC block) and now all I read is how people are concerned over using blocks with acrylic tops. Joy. So what's the real deal with acrylic tops? Thanks.
the only issue with acrylic tops is they arent the most reliable material, especially for our application. then tend to crack and craze but look very nice
You just have to be careful. Make sure that if you do use any type of coolant (other than distilled + biocide) it's not alcohol based, or contains any kind of alcohol. While short exposures to alcohol will not destroy the acrylic, prolonged use may weaken or cloud it, depending on concentrations. Acetone is a complete no-no. I have examples somewhere of what happens to high-impact acrylic (aka. the acrylic used in "safety" goggles and paintball masks) when exposed to alcohol based cleaners somewhere. I don't know if every acrylic out there is the same, but the threads sometimes aren't all that deep (bitten into the acrylic), so they're easier to strip if you aren't careful, the same goes with overtightened screws. too much pressure on the acrylic and it'll craze or crack completely.
My plan was to use distilled water + Petra PT_NUKE concentrated biocide.
I tempted to cancel my order and switch over to the Acetal EK block. I'm not of fan of the fact they didn't machine standoffs into the block but that seems the lesser of the two evils.
You can always contact eddy directly via his website and ask him to sell you the top only, if he doesn't have it on his site. I did that with the southbridge block i bought. PPC only had it in acrylic at the time, so i bought it and sent eddy an email. The difference in price was negligible.
Acrylic is one of those mysterious materials in waterblocks, done right with normal safe fluids and it can work for years without any sort of problem. I have acrylic in my D-Tek Fuzion GFX 1 and Danger Den MCP chipset blocks that's I've used for a long time now without a hint of any problems. Then there are those myserious reservoir issues that don't at all appear to be associated with bolt or bending stresses. There is also a variety of acrylics and some are apparently better than others.which one you get with any particular block is anyones guess.
All we know is there have been some problems with some blocks and some reservoirs, but nothing particularly consistent. It's hard to say it's the design, it could very well be the fluids used and/or the particular type of acrylic. You can be 100% certain that a block or component made with acetal won't crack, you can't say the same thing about acrylic.
I haven't seen a block or reservoir made of polycarbonate that has cracked, but it also hasn't been using nearly as much. I wouldn't expect to see polycarbonate crack, it's many many time more flexible and resistant to tensile stresses. Not so sure about chemical resistance...water and PTnuke is a pretty safe bet though.
Acrylic gets a bad rap, though there are problems with it.
If the proper kind of acrylic is used, and it's treated properly, it'll last forever. Case in point-the best aquariums in the world are made of acrylic. NaeKuh I believe has dabbled in aquaculture as well, he should remember them too.
Mixing or cleaning with alcohol or acetone is asking for trouble. Just exercise some common sense.
Acetal is strong, impact resistant, chemical resistant, but unfortunately opaque. The EK Supreme is pretty much only recommended in acrylic for this reason-you can't see if the jets are blocked.
Polycarb is a beautiful choice, as well as polyvinyl (Tygon is polyvinyl with plasticizer-it's basically clear PVC) as both are clear yet flexible, and tougher by far.
Acrylic is not the "failure prone material" it's made out to be. Anything can and will fail-it's under what conditions. It's just slightly less forgiving than acetal, and so people tend to prefer the idiot-proof situation. However, to that I'll say they always come out with a new idiot.
We used it for YEARS before people really started ing. Very few posts I can remember on cracked acrylic killing anything, and if I'm old enough to have a Maze2, I've been at this a while. It's a new craze, kinda, like al and copper (there's more truth to that one though.) It's always popular to hate on something. There's just more deserving stuff.
I bought some aqua computer stuff in late 2001, maybe early 2002.
Originally Posted by Martinm210
And some Asetek blocks in 2003, all that stuff has been used for years and still works.
Then again I had plex items break within weeks of purchase.
Not going to name and shame, but yeah, you are correct.