Styrofoam is a trademark product of the Dow Chemical Company. The term is often used incorrectly to label a variety of plastic foam products such as foam cups and packaging materials. Actual Styrofoam consists solely of extruded polystyrene foam and is commonly used for insulation and craft projects.
Polystyrene is a vinyl polymer that is structurally made up of a chain of hydrogen and carbon. A phenyl group is attached to every other carbon and polystyrene is created from styrene by free radical polymerization.
Carbon is a very common element that is found in an array of things from food to gasoline. It is the universe’s sixth most plentiful element and it plays an essential role in the chemistry of living things. The atomic structure of carbon consists of six protons and six electrons with four located in the valence, or outer shell. The number of neutrons varies depending on isotopes. The compound of carbon and hydrogen are the simplest form of organic element combinations.
Hydrogen is the simplest and lightest element and the universe’s most common. More than 90 percent of the atoms present in the universe are hydrogen. Hydrogen is typically located in water and there is little occurrence of free hydrogen on Earth because the element is so light. The atomic structure of hydrogen is made up of only one proton and one electron and no neutrons.
Properties of Extruded Polystyrene Foam
The most useful property of extruded polystyrene foam is its insulating ability. It is very resistant to the flow of heat and acts as an effective insulating product for a variety of uses. Extruded polystyrene foam is very durable and has compressive strength due to its closed-cell makeup. It provides long-term performance as an insulation substance due to its resistance to moisture. Its closed-cell composition assists in keeping moisture out. Extruded polystyrene foam is also resistant to mildew, mold and corrosion. It is resistant to a variety of chemicals, but substances that are made out of petroleum can break down the foam. Extruded polystyrene foam is combustible and it should not be exposed to flame or used in areas where temperatures are over 165 degrees Fahrenheit.