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(organic chemistry)
C6H5CH:CH2 A colorless, toxic liquid with a strong aroma; insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol and ether; polymerizes rapidly, can become explosive; boils at 145°C; used to make polymers and copolymers, polystyrene plastics, and rubbers. Also known as phenylethylene; styrene monomer; vinylbenzene.



(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.