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Polystyrene

[/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Polystyrene (PS) is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene.  Polystyrene can be solid or foamed. General-purpose polystyrene is clear, hard, and rather brittle. It is an inexpensive resin per unit weight. It is a rather poor barrier to oxygen and water vapor and has a relatively low melting point. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale of its production being several billion kilograms per year. Polystyrene can be naturally transparent, but can be colored with colorants. Uses include protective packaging (such as packing peanuts and CD and DVD cases), containers (such as “clamshells”), lids, bottles, trays, tumblers, and disposable cutlery.

As a thernoplastic polymer, polystyrene is in a solid (glassy) state at room temperature but flows if heated above about 100 °C, its glass transition temperature. It becomes rigid again when cooled. This temperature behavior is exploited for extursion (as in Styrofoam) and also for molding and vacuum forming, since it can be cast into molds with fine detail.

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Forms Produced

[/ultimate_heading][vc_column_text]Polystyrene is commonly injection molded, vacuum formed, or extruded, while expanded polystyrene is either extruded or molded in a special process. Polystyrene copolymers are also produced; these contain one or more other monomers in addition to styrene.

Foams

Polystyrene foams are good thermal insulators and are therefore often used as building insulation materials, such as in insulating concrete forms and structural insulated panel building systems. Grey polystyrene foam, incorporating graphite has superior insulation properties. They are also used for non-weight-bearing architectural structures (such as ornamental pillars). PS foams also exhibit good damping properties, therefore it is used widely in packaging.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS)

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam. It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. EPS is used for many applications e.g. trays, plates, bowls and fish boxes. Other uses include molded sheets for building insulation and packing material (“peanuts”) for cushioning fragile items inside boxes. Sheets are commonly packaged as rigid panels, which are also known as “bead-board”.

Due to its technical properties such as low weight, rigidity, and formability, EPS can be used in a wide range of different applications.

 

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