Product Info

Product Details: Styrene

Styrene is primarily a synthetic chemical. It is also known as vinylbenzene, ethenylbenzene, cinnamene, or phenylethylene. It’s a colorless liquid that evaporates easily and has a sweet smell. It often contains other chemicals that give it a sharp, unpleasant smell. It dissolves in some liquids but doesn’t dissolve easily in water. Billions of pounds are produced each year to make products such as rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, food containers, and carpet backing. Most of these products contain styrene linked together in a long chain (polystyrene) as well as unlinked styrene. Low levels of styrene also occur naturally in a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beverages, and meats.

Styrene, liquid hydrocarbon that is important chiefly for its marked tendency to undergo polymerization (a process in which individual molecules are linked to produce extremely large, multiple-unit molecules). Styrene is employed in the manufacture of polystyrene, an important plastic, as well as a number of specialty plastics and synthetic rubbers.


Styrene is essential in the creation of many consumer and industrial products that are used every day. A few of the most familiar uses of styrene include:

  • Solid polystyrene: used in packaging, rigid foodservice containers, medical and optical devices, electronics, toys, kitchen appliances, household items, and many other products.
  • Polystyrene foam: used in lightweight protective packaging, foodservice containers, building components, insulation, and more.
  • Composite products, also known as fiber-reinforced polymer composites (FRP): used in automobile components, military and commercial aircraft, boats, wind turbine parts, corrosion-resistant pipes and tanks, bathroom fixtures, sporting goods, and many other applications.

Polystyrene film: used in a variety of food packaging, laminating, and printing applications.

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