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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Styrene (vinylbenzene, styrole) is a colourless, viscous liquid with a pungent odour and tendency to polymerize. Styrene is slightly soluble in water, soluble in ethanol and very soluble in benzene and petroleum ether.

  • Styrene, also known as vinyl benzene, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH=CH2. Under normal conditions, this aromatic hydrocarbon is an oily liquid. It evaporates easily and has a sweet smell, although common impurities confer a less pleasant odor.

  • Styrene is named after the styrax trees from whose sap (benzoin resin) it can be extracted. Low levels of styrene occur naturally in plants as well as a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beverages, and meats.

Production

  • Styrene is produced by the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene. Ethylbenzene is formed by reacting ethylene and benzene, and most benzene is made by hydrodealkylation of toluene, which is obtained as a byproduct of gasoline manufacture. Most ethylbenzene manufacturers convert it directly into styrene.

  • Three essential steps are associated with the production of styrene from benzene and ethylene: synthesis of ethylbenzene from benzene and ethylene, ethylbenzene dehydrogenation, and styrene finishing.

  • Styrene is used in the production of polystyrene plastics, fiberglassreinforced plastics, synthetic rubber, resins, styrenated polyesters, and protective coatings.

Application

  • Styrene is one of the most important monomers worldwide, and its polymers and copolymers are used in an increasingly wide range of applications. The major uses are in plastics, latex paints and coatings, synthetic rubbers, polyesters and styrene-alkyd coatings.

  • Styrene is widely used to make plastics and rubber. Products containing styrene include insulation, fiberglass, plastic pipes, automobile parts, shoes, drinking cups and other food containers, and carpet backing.

  • Styrene is the monomer used to make polystyrene, which has a multitude of uses, the most common of which are in packaging and insulated styrofoam beverage cups.

Report

  • Styrene has been manufactured in the United States since 1938, with production increasing dramatically over the last 30 years. Then U.S. total styrene production has more than doubled.

  • Approximately 700 kilotonnes of styrene are produced annually in Canada, of which nearly two thirds are exported.

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