Have you ever wondered what lightweight ceiling tiles are made from? Have you ever wondered how polystyrene is made?
Polystyrene has many different uses and many different ways in which it can be made. It was discovered by a German man called Eduard Simon in 1839. However it took Hermann Staudinger, another German, to understand the full potential of what Eduard Simon had created. Hermann Staudinger won the Nobel Prize in 1953 for Chemistry because of his research.
Expanded polystyrene or EPS for short, is used to make insulation for buildings, packing material such as ‘foam peanuts’ and egg cartons. EPS is an extremely light, tough and low density material, which makes it ideal for packaging to protect products from damage during transportation and storage.
The process of making expanded polystyrene starts with polystyrene, which is created by combining benzene (C6H6) and ethylene (C2H4). Once that has been completed the polystyrene beads are subjected to pre-expansion.
Pre-expansion is where the polystyrene beads are expanded to forty times their original size, once that has been done the next stage is to let the beads age and then put into a mould and inject them with steam to expand the beads yet again, this creates expanded polystyrene.
Once cooled the EPF is then cut to the desired shape and coated with protective agents. The protective agents are used to protect the polystyrene from corrosion. EPF is also a very good form of insulation that is used in buildings, this is because it is filled with air which makes EPF a bad conductor of heat.
Many people know that polystyrene is used to create egg cartons, but a lot of people do not know that it is also used to make CD cases, television cabinets and numerous other durable, rigid products.