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Last updated date: 29th May 2024
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What is Styrene?

Styrene is an organic compound. It is a monomer of polystyrene. polystyrene is not a natural compound. Polymer made from styrene is known as polystyrene. It is a synthetic compound. In this compound a benzene ring is present. Therefore, it is also known as an aromatic compound. In this article, we have covered all the important points and concepts about styrenes like styrene formula, its uses, synthesis of styrene, styrene structure, and its properties. 


Styrene Formula

The structural styrene formula is C6H5CH=CH2. The styrene chemical formula is C8H8. The number written in the subscript of C represents the number of carbon atoms and the number written in the subscript of H represents the number of hydrogen atoms. C6H5 represents the benzyl ring and the CH=CH2 represents the two carbon alkene chains. The IUPAC name of the styrene is Ethenylbenzene.


Styrene Structure

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(Image will be Updated soon)


In the styrene structure, one benzene ring is attached to the vinyl group by the covalent bonding. Four pi bonds are present in the styrene structure. These pi bonds are alternately present in the styrene. Due to such arrangement resonance phenomena occur in the styrene structure. Other than these pi bonds eight sigma bonds are also present in the styrene structure. These sigma bonds present in the styrene are formed by the head-on overlapping s orbitals. The pi bonds are formed by the lateral overlapping of the p orbitals. 


Styrene Properties

  • Styrene is a colorless liquid.

  • The molecular weight of the styrene is 104.15 g/mol.

  • The styrene density is 0.909 g/cm³ at normal room temperature.

  • The odor of styrene is sweet in nature.

  • The solubility of styrene is 0.24 g/lt.

  • Styrene is flammable in nature.


Styrene Uses

  • Polymeric Solid form of styrene is used for packaging purposes.

  • Styrene is used in making rigid food containers.

  • Polymeric styrene is used in making medical devices and optical devices.

  • Electronics devices, children’s toys, kitchen appliances, household items, and many other products are made with the help of styrene.

  • Polystyrene foam is a lightweight material. Therefore, it can be used in protective packaging for food services purposes.

  • Polystyrene is used in making building components like insulation material and more.

  • Styrene is used in making Composite products, these products are known as fiber-reinforced polymer composites (FRP). These components are used in making automobile components.

  • Styrene polymeric form is used in making corrosion-resistant pipes and tanks.

  • Styrene is used in bathroom fixtures and sporting goods.

  • Polystyrene films are used in laminating, and printing applications.


Styrene Based Products

  • Refrigerator liners, medical equipment, car parts, small household appliances, toys, and luggage are all made of the plastic Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).

  • Food containers, tableware, bathroom fixtures, and optical fibers are all made of Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) plastic.

  • SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber) is a synthetic rubber that replaces natural rubbers in a range of applications, including vehicle tyres (leading to improved fuel efficiency), conveyor belts, gaskets, and seals.

  • Styrene Butadiene Latex (SBL) is a form of latex that is used to attach carpet fibers to a backing material in many paper coatings and more than 90% of broadloom carpeting made in the United States.


Environment Aspects of Styrene

Styrene is commonly used because it allows a wide range of goods to have a wide range of cost-effective advantages that customers enjoy. Styrene-based materials are used to produce bicycle helmets, military armor, and wind turbines. Styrene-based goods help to minimize greenhouse gas emissions by offering energy-efficient insulation in buildings and construction, as well as improved fuel efficiency by strengthening and reducing the weight of vehicle components. They also allow for the production of high-performance and cost-effective recreational goods like boats and other watercraft, as well as a reduction in reliance on expensive natural resources like tropical hardwoods for boats and marble and granite for homes and buildings.


Production Process of Styrene

Ethylbenzene-based technology is used in around 90% of styrene production. The catalytic alkylation of EB using aluminum chloride or other catalysts is the first step in the production process (i.e. zeolite catalysts). Using either multiple bed adiabatic or tubular isothermal reactors, the EB is subsequently dehydrogenated to styrene in the presence of steam at high temperatures over iron-chromium oxides or zinc oxide catalysts. The demand for styrene in liquid form is estimated to be more than 15 million metric tons, and it is primarily determined by the demand for its various applications. Western and Eastern Europe, as well as North America, have the highest yearly capacity for styrene manufacturing.


Benefits of Polystyrene

Styrene-based products help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing energy-efficient insulation in buildings and construction, as well as enhanced fuel efficiency by reinforcing and reducing the weight of car components. They also allow for the production of high-performance and cost-effective recreational products like boats and other watercraft, as well as a reduction in reliance on expensive natural resources like marble and granite for homes and buildings and Boats made of tropical hardwoods. Polystyrene is utilized in a variety of medical applications, including tissue culture trays, test tubes, Petri dishes, diagnostic components, test kit housings, and medical equipment, due to its clarity and simplicity of sterilizing. In a variety of applications, including building walls and roofs, refrigerators and industrial cold storage facilities, lightweight polystyrene foam provides good thermal insulation. Polystyrene insulation is inert, long-lasting, and water-resistant. Polystyrene foodservice packaging lasts longer and is less expensive than alternatives.


Difference between Styrene and Polystyrene

The distinction is due to chemistry. Styrene is a liquid that may be chemically bonded to form polystyrene, which is a solid plastic with a variety of characteristics. Polystyrene is utilized in a range of consumer items, including food containers, cushioning for fragile electronics during shipment, and insulation. Styrene is a liquid that may be chemically bonded to form polystyrene, which is a solid plastic with a variety of characteristics. Polystyrene is utilized in a range of consumer items, including food service containers, cushioning for fragile electronics shipment, and insulation.


Polystyrene Safety in Food Packaging

  • For a long time, the FDA has ruled polystyrene safe for use in food contact. Similar results have been reached by the European Commission/European Food Safety Authority and other regulatory organizations.

  • Foodborne sickness can be reduced with polystyrene foodservice packaging in homes, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, cafeterias, and restaurants.

  • The foodservice industry prefers polystyrene foodservice packaging because it performs better than other alternatives available in the market. Polystyrene packaging offers more convenience and dining enjoyment for people on the go, from organic to Spicy food items.

  • Foodservice packaging made of polystyrene is generally more cost-effective than alternatives made of paper or recyclable materials, with wholesale costs up to five times cheaper.

  • Foam polystyrene cups, plates, and sandwich containers require substantially less energy and water than equivalent paper-based or corn-based alternatives, owing to foam polystyrene's significantly lower weight.


Did you know? 

  • Styrene is an essential component of ballistic panels for military vehicles.

  • Styrene is used in making barracks.

  • Styrene is helpful in keeping our troops safe overseas. 

FAQs on Styrene

1. What is Styrene Meaning?

Styrene is a natural substance. It's a polystyrene monomer. Polystyrene is not a naturally occurring substance. Polystyrene is a polymer made from styrene. It's a man-made substance. A benzene ring is present in this compound. As a result, it's often referred to as an aromatic compound.

2. Give Some Uses of Polystyrene.

Some of the uses of polystyrene are:

  • A polymeric substance Styrene in its solid form is used in packaging.

  • Food containers made of styrene are rigid.

  • Medical and optical instruments are constructed out of polymeric styrene.

  • Styrene is used to make electronic devices, children's toys, kitchen appliances, household objects, and a variety of other things.

  • Polystyrene foam is a low-density foam. As a result, it can be used in foodservice packaging as a protective layer.

  • Polystyrene is used to make a variety of construction materials, including insulation.

  • Fiber-reinforced polymer composites are manufactured of styrene and are known as fiber-reinforced polymer composites (FRP). These components are used in the manufacture of car parts.

3. What are the Properties of Styrene?

The Properties of styrene are given below:

  • Styrene is a translucent substance with no pigment.

  • Styrene has a molecular weight of 104.15 g/mol.

  • At room temperature, styrene has a density of 0.909 g/cm³.

  • In nature, the odour of styrene is sweet.

  • Styrene has a solubility of 0.24 g/lt.

  • In nature, styrene is flammable.

4. What are the health effects of acute exposure to Styrene?

The health effects of acute exposure to Styrene are:

  • Acute styrene inhalation can result in the nose and throat discomfort, increased nasal discharge, wheezing, coughing, pulmonary oedema and cardiac arrhythmias.

  • Inhaling styrene can also cause CNS depression, which manifests as headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and ataxia.

  • Irritation, itching, and dermatitis may occur as a result of dermal exposure. Styrene absorption through the skin might cause CNS depression.

  • Reduced coordination and focus, impairment of short-term memory, changed liver function, and irregular ECG rhythms are all indications and symptoms of chronic occupational styrene exposure.

  • Styrene cutaneous exposure can cause chronic itching and the development of dermatitis.

5. How can Vedantu help me understand the concept of  Styrene?

For science students, chemistry is one of the most significant subjects. To score well on the examinations, they must fully comprehend each chapter of the subject. Students may utilize Vedantu's Chemistry study tools to finish their syllabus before the test, giving them more time to revise and prepare. If students practise and answer questions from it, they will be better able to describe the theme and pattern of the questions. These free resources were created under the supervision of competent teachers and are written in a very straightforward manner. To have a deeper knowledge of the subject, students can also attend live sessions and lectures. Please do not hesitate to ask if you are confused, have a problem with our replies, or need assistance addressing any new ideas or difficulties throughout the session.

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