Polystyrene processing is a complex and fascinating part of the manufacturing industry. Did you know polystyrene is found in things like disposable cups, takeout containers, and packaging materials?
As you may not know, polystyrene is a petroleum-based thermoplastic material that is formed by polymerizing styrene molecules. The process of making polystyrene involves heating styrene to a high temperature, which causes it to change from a liquid to a gas. When the gas cools, it turns into a solid, which is then shaped and molded into the finished product.
During the molding process, the polystyrene can be modified to create different densities, shapes, and colors. Some polystyrene products, like foam cups and packaging materials, are blown into molds to create a lightweight and durable design.
Polystyrene processing also involves the process of extrusion, which is used to create products like plastic tubing and straws. During extrusion, the polystyrene is heated and then pushed through a die to create the desired shape. The benefits of extrusion are that it can create products in different sizes, shapes, and thicknesses.
While polystyrene processing is necessary for creating many of our everyday products, it’s important to remember that polystyrene is not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down in landfills. However, some companies are now turning to eco-friendly alternatives like paper, biodegradable plastics, and plant-based materials.
Now that you know a little more about polystyrene processing, take a closer look at the plastic products you use in your daily life.