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polystyrene (pŏlˌēstīˈrēn), widely used plastic; it is a polymer of styrene. Polystyrene is a colorless, transparent thermoplastic that softens slightly above 100℃ (212℉) and becomes a viscous liquid at around 185℃ (365℉). It is resistant to acids, alkalies, oils, and alcohols. It is produced either as a solid or as a foamed plastic marketed under the trade name Styrofoam. Its many uses include electrical and thermal insulation, translucent window panels, storage-battery cases, and toilet articles.
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A hard, tough, stable thermoplastic that is easily colored, molded, expanded, or rolled into sheeting. See also: Plexiglas
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a linear polymer of styrene, [—CH2— CH(C6H5) —]n; a clear vitreous substance. Moleculer weight, 30,000–500,000; density, 1.06 g/cm3 (20°C); glass transition point, 93°C.

Polystyrene is an inexpensive, large-tonnage thermoplastic resin. It has high hardness and good dielectric properties; it is weatherproof and readily dyeable and moldable. It is chemically stable and soluble in aromatic and chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons, and it is physiologically harmless. However, it has relatively low heat resistance (Vicat softening point, about 100°C) and high brittleness; various styrene copolymers have better use properties. For example, copolymerization of styrene with acrylonitrile or α-methylstyrene increases heat resistance and tensile strength by about 60 percent; an increase in strength and impact strength from 5–10 to 50–100 kilojoules per sq m, or kilograms = force · cm per sq cm, is achieved by production of graft styrene copolymers with 5–10 percent rubber—for example, butadiene (impact-resistant polystyrene)—or triple copolymers of acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene (ABS polymers). Transparent triple copolymers are synthesized upon substitution of methyl methacrylate for acrylonitrile.

Polystyrene and styrene copolymers are produced in industry by radical polymerization in bulk or in aqueous emulsions; they are processed by injection molding, extrusion, compression molding, and vacuum forming.

Polystyrene is used in the manufacture of household appliances and domestic items, packing material, toys, accessories, and films, as well as in the preparation of polystyrene foam. In addition, impact-resistant polystyrene and ABS polymers are used in the manufacture of radio and television housings, motor vehicle and refrigerator parts, furniture, and pipes. Polystyrene is also mixed with rubber and with other plastics.

World production of polystyrene and styrene copolymers in 1973 was about 5 million tons.


Houwink, R., and A. Staverman [compilers]. Khimiia i tekhnologiia polimerov, vols. 1–2 (parts 1–2). Moscow-Leningrad, 1965–66. (Translated from German.)
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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(organic chemistry)
(C6H5CHCH2)x A water-white, tough synthetic resin made by polymerization of styrene; soluble in aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents; used for injection molding, extrusion or casting for electrical insulation, fabric lamination, and molding of plastic objects.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a synthetic thermoplastic material obtained by polymerizing styrene; used as a white rigid foam (expanded polystyrene) for insulating and packing and as a glasslike material in light fittings and water tanks
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"We made a Dubai Frame out of old wood, we constructed the Ain Dubai using an old bicycle wheel, and we carved the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa out of thermocol."
The father of one, whose family is still in India, said: "I randomly began making cards out of laces and then started working on Thermocol.
Thermocol is used as insulation in between the concrete walls.
Krones' new Thermocol heat transfer dressing system gives the bottles a no-label look, while incurring significantly lower costs and achieving a much higher performance.
The day started with the 'sthaapna pooja' followed by traditional 'aartis' and chants of 'Ganpati Bappa Morya', as the fest started without plastic, thermocol decorations and other harmful materials, besides observing air, noise and water pollution norms.
Today, August 15, 2018, a ban on all plastic or thermocol products such as cups, plates, and the like will be implemented.
Another highlight were shoes made out of plastic fishbowls slit in half and small thermocol balls flying around inside them.
In order to save the environment, many Ganesha devotees have pledged to reject the Idols made of chemicals, plaster of Paris, plastic and thermocol and opted for idols that are made of natural biodegradable materials like clay and paper.
According to the Chief Minister, it was decided to frame specific notification banning the use of plastic and harmful thermocol in five municipal corporations areas and the heritage town of Puri.
Disposable items made up of thermocol, such as plates, cups, spoons, glasses, bowls, straws, forks, etc., can only be used once.
Half of the inside of the suitcase was covered with a thermocol sheet that had slots in it to house the cast iron bombs