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(also phenylethylene, vinylbenzene), a colorless liquid with a characteristic odor, a melting point of 30.6°C, a boiling point of 145.2°C, and a density of 0.906 g/cm3 (20°C).
Styrene is practically insoluble in water but is miscible with most organic solvents. The compound is readily oxidized, it combines with halogens, and it also undergoes polymerization and copo-lymerization with various monomers. Since polymerization proceeds at room temperature, and sometimes explosively, inhibitors (tert-butylpyrocatechol, hydroquinone) are added during storage. The principal method of producing styrene is the catalytic dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene in a steam flow at 500°–630°C.
Styrene is used chiefly in the production of polystyrene, as well as in the production of such copolymers as butadiene-styrene rubbers and polyester resins. Copolymers of styrene with divinyl-benzene serve as ion-exchange resins.
Vapors of styrene irritate the mucous membrane; concentration in the air must not exceed 0.005 milligram per cubic decimeter.