Manufacture of Polystyrene
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is produced by the polymerization of styrene monomer. Styrene is a colourless liquid that evaporates easily. Expandable polystyrene is produced by introducing a volatile blowing agent which causes the polymer to expand when heated. Polystyrene is foamed through the use of physical blowing agents. Blowing agents are gases or liquids which are soluble in the molten polymer under pressure.
Polystyrene is chemically unreactive, that is why it is used to create products such as containers for chemicals, solvents and food. The stability is the result of the transformation of double bonds into less reactive single bonds. Structurally, the unsaturated alkene monomers have been transformed into unsaturated structures. A molecule is considered saturated when its carbons are bonded to the maximum number of hydrogen atoms possible. The strong bonds within the molecule make styrene very stable.
Properties of Polystyrene
The properties of polystyrene are
•It is transparent
Polystyrene is the plastic most often used in “scotch” tape dispensers and transparent, hinged plastic boxes. It can even be cast into cheap plastic lenses.
• DVD cases
•the outside housing of computers
•, model cars
• and hair combs
•disposable and reusable items
• plastic plates
Is it Biodegradable?
Polystyrene is not biodegradable, and is often a form of pollution in the outdoor environment, particularly along shores and waterways. Polystyrene can be recycled, and has the number “6″ as its recycling symbol.