Polystyrene (PS)

PS, or Polystyrene:  a thermoplastic polymer which softens when heated and can be converted into semi-finished products like films and sheets, as well as a wide range of finished articles.


More Information on PS

  • History

    Polystyrene was discovered in 1839 by Eduard Simon, an apothecary in Berlin. From storax, the resin of the Turkish sweetgum 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 metastyrol. Analysis later showed that it was chemically identical to Styroloxyd. In 1866 Marcelin Berthelot correctly identified the formation of metastyrol/Styroloxyd from styrol as a polymerization process. About 80 years later it was realized that heating of styrol starts a chain reaction that produces macromolecules, following the thesis of German organic chemist Hermann Staudinger (1881–1965). This eventually led to the substance receiving its present name, polystyrene.

  • Properties

  • Applications

  • Processes

  • Recycling & Recovery


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