Polystyrene (Thermocole

Polystyrene ( IUPAC poly(1-phenylethene-1,2-diyl)) also known as Thermocole, abbreviated following ISO Standard PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale being several billion kilograms per year. Polystyrene is a thermoplastic substance, which is in solid (glassy) state at room temperature, but flows if heated above its glass transition temperature of about 100 °C (for molding or extrusion), and becomes solid again when cooled. Pure solid polystyrene is a colorless, hard plastic with limited flexibility. It can be cast into molds with fine detail. Polystyrene can be transparent or can be made to take on various colors. Solid polystyrene is used, for example, in disposable cutlery, plastic models, CD and DVD cases, and smoke detector housings. Products made from foamed polystyrene are nearly ubiquitous, for example packing materials, insulation, and foam drink cups. Polystyrene can be recycled, and has the number "6" as its recycling symbol. The increasing oil prices have increased the value of polystyrene for recycling. No known microorganism has yet been shown to biodegrade polystyrene, and it is often abundant as a form of pollution in the outdoor environment, particularly along shores and waterways especially in its low density cellular form.

Polystyrene was discovered in 1839 by Eduard Simon, an apothecary in Berlin. From storax, the resin of the Turkish sweet gum tree Liquidambar orientalis, he distilled an oily substance, a monomer that he named styrol. Several days later, Simon found that the styrol had thickened, presumably from oxidation, into a jelly he dubbed styrol oxide ("Styroloxyd"). By 1845 English chemist John Blyth and German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann showed that the same transformation of styrol took place in the absence of oxygen. They called their substance

. Before 1949. such as pentane. BASF and Stastny applied for a patent that was issued in 1949. The materials properties are determined by short range van der Waals attractions between polymers chains. Germany. These beads are the raw material for moulding parts or extruding sheets. STRUCTURE: In chemical terms. Farben began manufacturing polystyrene in Ludwigshafen. In 1959. Products were named Styropor. the chains are able to take on a higher degree of conformation and slide past each other. polystyrene is a long chain hydrocarbon wherein alternating carbon centers are attached to phenyl groups (the name given to the aromatic ring benzene. Since the molecules are long hydrocarbon chains that consist of thousands of atoms. following the thesis of German organic chemist Hermann Staudinger (1881–1965). When heated (or deformed at a rapid rate. hoping it would be a suitable replacement for die-cast zinc in many applications. The moulding process was demonstrated at the Kunststoff Messe 1952 in Düsseldorf. G. the chemical engineer Fritz Stastny (1908–1985) developed pre-expanded PS beads by incorporating aliphatic hydrocarbons. Pennsylvania. The company I. The crystal structure of isotactice polystyrene was reported by Giulio Natta. it contains the chemical elements carbon and hydrogen. About 80 years went by before it was realized that heating of styrol starts a chain reaction that produces macromolecules. Polystyrene's chemical formula is (C8H8)n.metastyrol. This eventually led to the substance receiving its present name. polystyrene. Analysis later showed that it was chemically identical to Styroloxyd. the Koppers Company in Pittsburgh. developed expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. the total attractive force between the molecules is large. about 1931. Success was achieved when they developed a reactor vessel that extruded polystyrene through a heated tube and cutter. In 1866 Marcelin Berthelot correctly identified the formation of metastyrol from styrol as a polymerization process. due to a combination of viscoelastic and thermal insulation properties). producing polystyrene in pellet form.

In the polymerization. From this flat schematic. POLYMERISATION: Polystyrene results when styrene monomers interconnect.000–400. it is not evident which of the phenyl (benzene) groups are angled toward us from the plane of the diagram. A 3-D model would show that each of the chiral backbone carbons lies at the center of a tetrahedron. Let's consider that the -C-C.This intermolecular weakness (versus the high intramolecular strength due to the hydrocarbon backbone) confers flexibility and elasticity. hence it is very difficult to depolymerize polystyrene. . and which ones are angled away. The isomer where all of them are on the same side is called isotactic polystyrene.000. which is not produced commercially.bonds are rotated so that the backbone chain lies entirely in the plane of the diagram. The ability of the system to be readily deformed above its glass transition temperature allows polystyrene (and thermoplastic polymers in general) to be readily softened and molded upon heating. one carboncarbon double bond (in the vinyl group) is replaced by a much stronger carbon-carbon single bond. About a few thousand monomers typically comprise a chain of polystyrene. giving a molecular weight of 100. with its 4 bonds pointing toward the vertices.

and often sterilized post-molding. Familiar uses include molded sheets for building insulation and packing material ("peanuts") for cushioning fragile items inside boxes. smoke detector housings. and is used for producing plastic model assembly kits. plastic cutlery. and many other objects where a fairly rigid. Expanded polystyrene Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough. they therefore play a critical role in pharmaceutical research. which are also known as "bead-board". A growing use of EPS in construction is insulating concrete forms. They are also used for nonweight-bearing architectural structures (such as ornamental pillars). Thermal resistivity is usually about 28 m·K/W (or R-4 per inch). The . Sheets are commonly packaged as rigid panels (size 4 by 8 or 2 by 8 feet in the United States). Much of modern biomedical research relies on the use of such products. It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. Some EPS boards have a flame spread of less than 25 and a smoke-developed index of less than 450. such as in structural insulated panel building systems. Post-mold surface modification. PS foams exhibit also good damping properties. Polystyrene Petri dishes and other laboratory containers such as test tubes and micro plates play an important role in biomedical research and science. is often done to introduce polar groups. therefore it is used widely in packaging. CD "jewel" cases. articles are almost always made by injection molding. Foams Polystyrene foams are good thermal insulators and are therefore often used as building insulation materials. Production methods include thermoforming and injection molding. closed-cell foam.USES OF POLYSTYRENE: Sheet or molded polystyrene Polystyrene (PS) is economical. license plate frames. which means they can be used without a fire barrier (but require a 15-minute thermal barrier) according to US building codes. either by irradiation or by treatment with ethylene oxide. economical plastic is desired. usually with oxygen-rich plasmas. For these uses.

One commercial name for HIPS is Bextrene.density range is about 16–640 kg/m3. Extruded polystyrene foam Extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) consists of closed cells. it makes a more uniform substitute for corrugated cardboard. Most electronics cases are made of this form of polystyrene. forming a graft copolymer. divinylbenzene can be used . HIPS is usually injection molded in production. and SMA one with maleic anhydride. XPS does not require facers to maintain its thermal or physical property performance. Styrene can be copolymerized with other monomers. offers improved surface roughness and higher stiffness and reduced thermal conductivity. which helps to incorporate normal polybutadiene into the final mix. Extruded polystyrene material is also used in crafts and model building. Copolymers Pure polystyrene is brittle. The two such materials can never normally be mixed because of the amplified effect of intermolecular forces on polymer insolubility (see plastic recycling). but if polybutadiene is added during polymerization it can become chemically bonded to the polystyrene. Common applications of HIPS include toys and product casings. The most common processing method is thermal cutting with hot wires. such as polybutadiene rubber. SAN is a copolymer of styrene with acrylonitrile. The density range is about 28 – 45 kg/m3. Because of the extrusion manufacturing process. resulting in high-impact polystyrene or HIPS. for example. as are many sewer pipes. Thermal resistivity is usually about 35 m·K/W (or R-5 per inch in American customary units). Several other copolymers are also used with styrene. but hard enough that a fairly high-performance product can be made by giving it some of the properties of a stretchier material. Autoclaving polystyrene can compress and harden the material. often called "high-impact plastic" in advertisements. in particular architectural models. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS plastic is similar to HIPS: a copolymer of acrylonitrile and styrene. Thus. toughened with polybutadiene.

giving off soot. . Foamed polystyrene blows in the wind and floats on water. thereby practically eliminating the degradation of waste. Because of this stability. DEGRADATION: As it is an aromatic hydrocarbon. these are usually hydrocarbons such as pentane. Complete oxidation of polystyrene produces carbon dioxide and water vapor. today's landfills are designed to minimize contact with air and water required for degradation. solvents. but it does not come into contact with the actual solvents. Polystyrene foam is a major component of plastic debris in the ocean. Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. Polystyrene contains traces of styrene monomer. Because of its chemical inertness. When food is heated in polystyrene container the monomer is extracted and enters the digestive system of the consumer. Styrene is toxic and a known carcinogen. where it becomes toxic to marine life. polystyrene burns with an orange-yellow flame. very little of the waste discarded in today's modern. and foods. as is characteristic of materials containing aromatic rings. This causes additional concerns when used for food or beverage packaging. Foamed polystyrene is used for packaging purposes of chemicals. Environmental impact Discarded polystyrene does not biodegrade for hundreds of years and is resistant to photolysis. Because degradation of materials creates potentially harmful liquid and gaseous by-products that could contaminate groundwater and air. polystyrene is used to fabricate containers for chemicals. In expanded polystyrene. highly engineered landfills biodegrades.for cross-linking the polystyrene chains to give the polymer used in Solid phase peptide synthesis. and is abundant in the outdoor environment. Polystyrene is soluble in most of the organic solvents known and is not appropriate for such uses.

and gastrointestinal effects.which may pose a flammability hazard in manufacturing or storage of newly manufactured material. Foamed polystyrene plastic materials have been accidentally ignited and caused huge fires and losses. and upper respiratory tract. . for example at the Düsseldorf International Airport. but have relatively mild environmental impact." As a consequence. although it is an efficient insulator at low temperatures. Impact on health: The biggest environmental health concern associated with polystyrene is the danger associated with Styrene. rubber. headache. or concrete. However. are potentially exposed to styrene. the Channel tunnel (where polystyrene was inside a railcar that caught fire). the basic building block of polystyrene. including those who make boats. and the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant (where fire breached a fire retardant and reached the foamed plastic underneath. and weakness. eyes. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). sheet metal. inside a fire stop that had not been tested and certified in accordance with the final installation). About 90.000 workers. its use is prohibited in any exposed installations in building construction if the material is not flame-retardant. Chronic exposure affects the central nervous system showing symptoms such as depression. polystyrene is flammable. tubs and showers. It must be concealed behind drywall. Polystyrene is classified according to DIN4102 as a "B3" product. extruded polystyrene is usually made with hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC-22). and can cause minor effects on kidney function and blood. Styrene is used extensively in the manufacture of plastics. Fire hazards Like other organic compounds. fatigue. meaning highly flammable or "easily ignited. which have a 1000-times greater 'greenhouse effect' on global warming compared to carbon dioxide. Acute health effects are generally irritation of the skin. and resins.

How It Works . researchers. or cotton burrs to any shape we make. and innovators. How It’s Made Grown EcoCradle is actually “grown” using mycelium. ECOCRADLE™ is a branch of Ecovative™ which is a diverse group of engineers. scientists.MUSHROOM PACKAGING A packaging material made of mushroom roots and agricultural waste has been given the name “mushroom packaging”. and no petrochemical inputs. Inside every cubic inch of EcoCradle. production specialists. the mycelium envelops the by-products. in the dark. a fungal network of threadlike cells. In 5 – 7 days. The company seeks to create new paradigms for sustainable material production that encourages creativity and sound environmental stewardship. The material produced is fire resistant and biodegradable. EcoCradle is treated with heat to stop the growth so there will never be any spores. EcoCradle has come up with production of mushroom packaging material. with no watering. binding them into a strong and beautiful packaging part. there’s a matrix of 8 miles of tiny mycelial fibers! At the end of the process. oat hulls. It is claimed that the production of mushroom packaging utilizes 98 percent lesser energy than the production of polystyrene. This mycelium grows around agricultural by-products like buckwheat husks.

pressure. materials that are environmentally low-impact are utilized. or energy. Renewable. This is because the process harness mycelium’s ability to self assemble lignin and cellulose into strong bio-composites. this technology isn’t based on turning food or fuel crops into materials. and are part of a healthy ecosystem. Unlike other bio-plastics. thus enabling to actually grow material without a lot of heat. 100 percent biodegradable and renewable. but it only uses inedible crop waste to create packaging products.Sustainability Natural. . Biodegradable By using mycelium and agricultural by-products. Production With Less Energy The way EcoCradle is produced uses significantly less energy than the manufacturing of synthetic foams.

and many of these facilities do not accept bio-plastics. or throwing away EcoCradle are all environmentally sound options of disposal because the product is made of natural materials that belong in a healthy ecosystem. There is limited industrial composting capacity. EcoCradle is always home compostable. gardening. EcoCradle packaging fits into nature’s recycling system. . the polymers degrade and are “down-cycled” into lower grade materials. Composting. Many bio-plastics have come under criticism because they only break down under extreme temperature conditions found in industrial composting facilities.Environmentally-Friendly Disposal From beginning to end. Even when plastic packaging is recycled (and it seldom is).