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"Polystyrene (PS) is a thermoplastic polymer that is achieved through the polymerization of styrene. It is one of the plastics that is most used in industry. Its first industrial production was in 1930 in Germany.
There are 4 main types of polystyrene:
Crystal PS or GPPS: it is the product of the polymerization of pure styrene. It is hard but brittle and it is transparent. From 100 ° C it is easily molded and can be given many shapes.
High Impact PS or HIPS: rubber has been added to make it more resistant. It can withstand more violent impacts without breaking. It is an opaque material.
Expanded PS or EPS: it is 5% polystyrene and 95% of a gas that reduces the density of the material through bubbles. It is light and resistant to humidity. It is widely used to make food packaging, it is also used as an insulator in constriction.
Extruded PS - Similar to Expanded PS. It is a rigid foam that is obtained by gas injection when the glass polystyrene melts. It is denser and more waterproof than EPS. It is used as a thermal insulator or for the protection of fragile products.
The most widely used process for polystyrene is mass radical polymerization. The process for crystal polystyrene would be as follows:
Conditioning of raw materials: as it is not based on catalysts, purification of the raw material is not carried out since it can accept impurities.
Reaction: Styrene polymerizes suddenly and faster the higher the temperature rises.
Devolatilization: unconverted styrene and ethylbenzene are separated from polystyrene.
Recycle Purification: The items separated in the previous step have a lot of impurities. In some plants they are purified and in others a part is purged.
Granulation: the molten polystyrene comes out of a row of holes that form threads that are cooled in a water bath, dried and cut into small cylinders (pellets).
Shipment: PS is shipped to be sold in bulk or packed on pallets.
Depending on the material to be manufactured, its manufacturing method can be injection molding, blow molding, extrusion or thermoforming.
Many polystyrene products are not recycled due to lack of investment in compactors and logistics systems. Styrofoam has a low density and therefore is not an economical collection, but if it is compacted it would become a high value material for recycled pallet producers. Recycled polystyrene can be used to manufacture new EPS pieces (packaging, plates ...), to improve floors (once the EPS is crushed it mixes with the earth), it is incorporated into other construction materials (light bricks , mortars ...), EPS pellets are produced (pens, hangers ...) and it is used as filler material (stuffed animals, cushions ...) "