Expandable Polystyrene is one of the most widely used kinds of plastic. It is a polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon commercially manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry. Polystyrene is a thermoplastic substance; it melts if heated and becomes solid again when cool.
Polystyrene is most commonly found in three forms. Rigid Polystyrene (PS), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS).
Rigid Polystyrene has many applications, including disposable cutlery, cd cases, video/cassette casings, components for plastic model toys, and some margarine and yoghurt containers. Extruded polystyrene foam has good insulating properties making it important as a non-structural construction material. XPS is sold under the trademark Styrofoam by Dow Chemical. However, this term is often used informally for other foamed polystyrene products.
History of EPS
Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) has a long history of evolution behind it. Mr Eduard Simon isolated a substance from natural resin. However, he did not know what he had discovered. It took another German organic chemist, Mr Hermann Staudinger, to realize that Simon’s discovery, comprised of long chains of styrene molecules, was a plastic polymer. In 1930, the scientists at BASF developed a way to manufacture Polystyrene commercially. Badische Anilin & Soda-Fabrik (BASF) was founded in 1861. In 1937, Dow Chemical introduced Polystyrene to the U.S. market.
Expandable & Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a generic term for polystyrene and styrene copolymers. It is a rigid cellular plastic foam material derived from petroleum and natural gas byproducts. The spherical beads of resin are subjected to steam, which causes the thermoplastic Polystyrene to soften and expand up to 40 times its original volume. Each small bead of Polystyrene is fully sealed.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is produced in a wide range of densities from 8 to 40 Kgs/M3, providing a varying range of Physical / Mechanical properties. These are matched to the various applications where the material is used to optimize its performance and strength.