Shrink films get a grip

Many people fondly remember playing with toys known as Shrinky Dinks—sheets of polystyrene plastic with shapes that kids can color, cut out and heat in an oven, where they shrink into thicker pieces of plastic. Now, researchers ...

Popular new construction material helps measure protein particles

Understanding how proteins clump together is essential in modern pharmaceuticals. When these tiny particles aggregate, they can alter the effectiveness of both vaccines and drugs, especially many of the new, popular formulations ...

Video: Making polystyrene dissolve like magic

Have you ever seen a foam cup appear to melt away in acetone? Foam cups, bowls and containers are made of a lightweight but strong material - expanded polystyrene. How then does acetone reduce this substance to a blob of ...

New technique allows low-cost creation of 3-D nanostructures

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new lithography technique that uses nanoscale spheres to create three-dimensional (3-D) structures with biomedical, electronic and photonic applications. The ...

Ridding the sea and land from toxic plastics fragments

Plastic products made of PVC, Polystyrene and other prominent plastics are flooding the market. They are a growing threat to the environment, as they are found in the sea or dumped in land fills. But in a few years, there ...

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Polystyrene

Polystyrene ( /ˌpɒliˈstaɪriːn/; 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.

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