The manufacturing process of different types of lightweight and flexible items is improved from before after considering the application of polystyrene. Styrene is the most effective monomer of polystyrene. Another term associated with polystyrene is ethyl benzene. Phenyl ethane and vinyl benzene are two other components in which all integrated precursors are included.

Definition: Polystyrene

Polystyrene is an important stiff, transparent and hard resin and is produced by the polymerization of styrene. At room temperature, a thermostatic polymer is found in a solid form. At the time of heating the component at a high temperature, polystyrene started to transfer into a liquid form. At a cooling time, this component becomes rigid.

Figure 1: Polystyrene PS plastic, Chemical structure

Polystyrene is a component that is insoluble in water. These are some other copolymers as well that are responsible for maintaining the componential attributes of polystyrene. The manufacturing process of some performance-efficient, cost-efficient and energy-efficient products is also associated with the functions of polystyrene.

Properties of Polystyrene

Polystyrene possesses some significant properties based on which its significance in preparing flexible and transparent items can be understood.

  • Polystyrene’s nature is non-polar.

  • The existence of polystyrene is found in an amorphous state. This component’s presence in some phenyl groups is the main reason behind this.

  • The melting point of polystyrene is 240°C.

  • The range of polystyrene dentistry is 1.05g/cm3.

  • The gravity range of polystyrene is 1.054.

  • Thermal conductivity is an important property of polystyrene whose value is 0.003W/m.K.

  • The optical property of polystyrene is also an important part as it is a very transparent polymer. The range of transmission is very high in relation to almost all wavelengths. The high brilliance of polystyrene is generated by its high refractive index.

Structure of Polystyrene

Polystyrene is known to be an important vinyl polymer in which a long hydrocarbon chain is found. Each carbon atom of polystyrene is integrally attached to the structure of polystyrene. The free vinyl process of polymerization is important as this monomer styrene is integrally attached.

The main components of polystyrene’s structure are carbon and hydrogen. Some of the atoms are attached to the carbon molecules. Some atoms are found as a bond between carbon and hydrogen. These structural components are helpful in presenting pure polystyrene, which is an important linear polymer. A very small amount of divinyl benzene is found in the structural component of polystyrene. The branches are induced, as not much divinyl benzene is capable of handling the polystyrene gel.

Usage of Polystyrene

In current industrial purposes and in some other areas as well, polystyrene is widely used.

Figure 3: Thermal insulation coatings with insulating panels in polystyrene and graphite for building energy efficiency

Some of the key usages of polystyrene are as follows:

  • In medical purposes, polystyrene is used significantly.

  • The sterilization procedure of test tubes depends on the usage of polystyrene.

  • Some diagnostic components are also made by using polystyrene.

  • Some parts of a car are also made of polystyrene. Such parts can include instrument panels, knobs and sound dampening foam.

  • The egg cartons and DVD cases are packed using polystyrene. Using polystyrene is safe in packing these as it can prevent damage and is less expensive.

  • The usage of polystyrene can provide chances to increase thermal insulation and therefore in freezers and refrigerators, polystyrene is an important component.

  • Some of the most required IT equipment is prepared by using polystyrene.

  • Parts of television and computers are also prepared by using polystyrene.

Polystyrene Safety and Food Packaging

Polystyrene possesses a very low tendency in relation to absorbing moisture. This is the reason, in packaging food; using polystyrene is beneficial and helpful. In the presence of benzoyl peroxide, polystyrene is prepared in which free radical addition is also integrated. As an important catalyst, benzoyl peroxide is an important component of polystyrene. The safety measure of polystyrene is used in packaging food.

  • According to the European Commission, the characteristics and componential attributes of polystyrene are fully safe when it comes in direct contact with food.

  • All types of food-borne illnesses can be easily reduced by considering a package, made of polystyrene.

  • All the packaging, made of polystyrene, is less expensive than any other materials.

  • Polystyrene can be easily reused and recycled and this is an important consideration for the continuous increase in polystyrene demand.


Polystyrene is a significant amorphous polymer, which is non-polar in nature. A very low temperature is required for softening polystyrene. At the temperature of boiling water, this component cannot stand. Polystyrene possesses no metallic sound when it is dropped. These characteristics state that in the current time, the usage of polystyrene for industrial purposes is very important. Air, being one of the main parts of polystyrene's composition, leads this to be very lightweight. Both the extruded and expanded polystyrene possess equal importance. The environment-friendly nature of this component is an important reason behind its increasing demand.


Q1. Why is polystyrene popular in the food service industry?

Ans. In the food service industry, polystyrene is very much important as it helps in maintaining the safety of food items. In commercial alternatives as well, polystyrene is a useful component. The food service industry can be ensured regarding convenience and proper dining satisfaction.

Q2. What is the reason behind brittle polystyrene in nature?

Ans. The impact of chain stiffening on all benzene rings is an important reason behind the brittleness of polystyrene. This characteristic leads this component to produce the least sound when it is dropped.

Q3. What is extruded polystyrene?

Ans. A specific form of plastic is named extruded polystyrene, which is used in various forms. In almost all building materials and in the preparation of some storage containers extruded polystyrene is very important. All the extruded polystyrene possesses a significant form which is like a plastic-like material.