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Complete guide to Polystyrene (PS): what it is, types, uses and applications

April 30, 2024

PS is often combined or copolymerized with other compounds to form plastics with improved properties. Learn everything about this versatile material.

 

Polystyrene ( PS), also called polyphenylethene, is a thermoplastic polymer obtained from the polymerization of styrene. It is a type of plastic widely used in various applications thanks to its excellent properties as an electrical insulator, resistance to chemicals such as acids and bases, and its easy reuse.

Solid polystyrene is transparent due to the lack of crystalline arrangements in the styrene molecules. It is a brittle material with poor UV resistance and has a glass transition temperature of 100ºC, meaning it begins to soften before melting.

Can it be recycled?

Yes. It is identified with recycling code number 6 and can be recycled, melted down and reused in various ways.

Recycling code number 6 for polystyrene

What are the types of polystyrene?

It can be presented in various forms, but the two main ones are:

What are its properties?

PS is often combined or copolymerized with other compounds to form plastics with improved properties. For example, polystyrene is combined with methyl methacrylate to form poly(styrene-co-methyl methacrylate) or PSMMA. The resulting material has greater clarity with greater chemical and UV resistance.


Also read: The demand for Expanded Polystyrene continues to grow despite prohibitions


Some of the main properties of this material include:

Styrofoam plates, glasses and trays on a black background

What are the uses of polystyrene?

Polystyrene is used in industries such as toys, consumer goods, insulators, packaging and in the synthesis of new plastics . It is considered one of the most common plastics and is used in solid forms, films and foams, constituting the polymer matrix in compounds and as a base for copolymerized plastics.

 

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