Styrene also known as STY, styrene monomer, vinyl benzene, phenylethylene, styrol, styrole, styrolene, cinnamene, styron, and cinnamol) is a clear, colourless to yellow, oily liquid with a sweet smell. It has the formula C8H8 and it evaporates easily and is also flammable. Styrene is an essential component in the making of 1000’s of everyday products as it provides strength and flexibility whilst also being lightweight.
What is Styrene used for?
Styrene is an adaptable synthetic chemical and it is used in the manufacture of materials which are then used to produce an amazing variety of products across a wide range of industries.
The most recognisable of the styrene-based materials is polystyrene, with nearly 65 % of all styrene used to produce this. Polystyrene is used in a huge range of everyday products and can be found in packaging, toys, recreational equipment, consumer electronics and safety helmets, to name but a few.
Other materials produced include acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene (ABS) and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) resins and account for approximately 16 % of styrene consumption. ABS is a thermoplastic resin that is used in the automobile and electronics industry, while SAN is a co-polymer plastic that is used in a range of consumer goods, packaging, and automotive applications.
Styrene is also utilised in the manufacture of styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) elastomers and latexes, and accounts for approximately 6% of consumption. SBR is used in car tyres, and belts and hoses for machinery, as well as in household items such as toys, sponges and floor tiles.
Unsaturated polyester resin (UPR), better known as fibreglass, is another material based on styrene and this also accounts for approximately 6% of styrene consumption.
Polystyrene in Appliances
Refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, blenders – these and other appliances often are made with polystyrene (solid and foam) because it is inert (doesn’t react with other materials), cost-effective and long-lasting.
Polystyrene in Automotive
Polystyrene (solid and foam) is used to make many car parts, including knobs, instrument panels, trim, energy absorbing door panels and sound dampening foam. Foam polystyrene also is widely used in child protective seats.
Polystyrene in Electronics
Polystyrene is used for the housing and other parts for televisions, computers and all types of IT equipment, where the combination of form, function and aesthetics are essential.
Polystyrene in Foodservice
Polystyrene foodservice packaging typically insulates better, keeps food fresher longer and costs less than alternatives.
Polystyrene in Insulation
Lightweight polystyrene foam provides excellent thermal insulation in numerous applications, such as building walls and roofing, refrigerators and freezers, and industrial cold storage facilities. Polystyrene insulation is inert, durable and resistant to water damage.
Polystyrene in Medical
Due to its clarity and ease of sterilization, polystyrene is used for a wide range of medical applications, including tissue culture trays, test tubes, petri dishes, diagnostic components, housings for test kits and medical devices.
Polystyrene in Packaging
Polystyrene (solid and foam) is widely used to protect consumer products. CD and DVD cases, foam packaging peanuts for shipping, food packaging, meat/poultry trays and egg cartons typically are made with polystyrene to protect against damage or spoilage.
benzene, ethenyl- / benzene, vinyl- / cinnakol / cinnamene / cinnamenol / cinnamol / diarex HF77 (=styrene,inhibited) / ethenylbenzene / ethylene, phenyl- / FEMA number 3234 / monomeric styrene / phenethylene / phenetylene / phenylethene / phenylethylene / styrene / styrene monomer-E / styrol, monomer / styrolène / styron / styropol (=styrene,inhibited) / styropol SO / styropor (=styrene,inhibited) / vinylbenzene / vinylbenzol