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Styrofoam is a material made of a prominent and very useful type of plastic called polystyrene that is widely used thanks to its various advantages. Styrofoam as a term is actually a nickname that derives from commercial names of certain products that were developed in Israel, and this is one of the materials most familiar to us, and in practice it is a certain type of polystyrene. But in order to “understand” Styrofoam, you should first understand what polystyrene is. In this article we will expand on polystyrene, its properties and its many uses.
Polystyrene is a material that is produced using one of the by-products of oil production. Today there is a wide variety of plastic types , with polystyrene being just one of them. It is possible to obtain different shapes from raw polystyrene for production processes through plastic injection , which is a basic and most common technique in plastic production. Beyond that, polystyrene has several variations, including foamed polystyrene (styrofoam) and polystyrene that is produced using the extrusion technique. The combination of possibilities makes it a very useful material within the production processes of many products, whether they are based solely on polystyrene or partially based on it.
Foamed polystyrene is the product of a special production process, which ends up with a material that is 98% air! This means that there is an excellent combination of light weight and high insulating capacity, all based on the material polystyrene. In Israel this material has gained great popularity as one of the components of various products, such as a heat insulating layer for beverage containers. Styrofoam is a very cheap material and also very convenient to process into different shapes as required.
Polystyrene is generally recyclable. However, like any material it also has certain disadvantages. Styrofoam is a non-degradable material and from an environmental point of view it is not exactly environmentally friendly. Animals may eat it, its crumbs are easily carried by the wind and the material itself floats in water. So without proper treatment of waste from this material, it may spread and be harmful. Also, polystyrene is a relatively flammable material.
Polystyrene mainly excels in these features:
This material has many uses, including:
Chemically, polystyrene is a polymer based on liquid carbon called styrene. In terms of industrial use and a concise practical definition, it is a common and very useful plastic raw material.
Styrofoam is polystyrene that has undergone a special manufacturing process that incorporates air bubbles. Thanks to this, the styrofoam combines light weight (“light”) and a good ability to retain heat (“cold”).
The best-known use of polystyrene is as an insulating material when it is in its foamed form, but it also has many other uses.
Whether you call it Styrofoam or expanded polystyrene, it is undoubtedly a very useful material. Also, the relationship between this fact and its cheap price, make Styrofoam an excellent option when choosing raw materials for production.