Styrene is a clear, colourless oily liquid with a sweet, aromatic odour. It is miscible with most organic solvents and slightly soluble in water. It is a good solvent for synthetic rubber, strong plastics, polystyrene and other high molecular weight polymers.
Styrene can be copolymerized with acrylates, methacrylates, acrylonitrile, butadiene, divinylbenzene and maleic anhydride. It responds to a broad range of initiators including peroxides and other free radical initiators, redox initiator systems and ionic initiators.
Synonyms: Phenyl ethylene, vinyl-benzene, styrol, cinnamene, vinyl polymer, polyvinyl resin
Applications of Styrene
Styrene is the monomer for the production of valuable homopolymers and copolymers, the most well known of which is polystyrene, in either solid or expandable form.
Styrene is a raw material in the production of a wide range of materials which are used in thousands of end products such as CD cases, refrigerator linings, food containers, tyres, recreational equipment such as bicycle helmets, carpet backings, keyboards and housings for a broad range of home entertainment equipment such as televisions, audio and video equipment and games consoles. Stryene-based products are characterised by their toughness and insulation properties. For that reason they are frequently used in containers for medical applications such as the transportation of vaccines and organs.
Storage and Handling
Exposure to styrene liquid and/or vapour may cause slight irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Frequent contact may cause dermatitis. Accidental ingestion in large amounts may cause irritation to the mouth, throat and digestive tract. Styrene can cause dizziness and lack of consciousness if inhaled. Appropriate precautions including engineering controls and the wearing of personal protective equipment should be observed.
Styrene is supplied inhibited to prevent spontaneous polymerization. It may be stored under air or inert gas with sufficient oxygen to ensure a minimum content in the liquid phase. Storage temperature should be maintained at around 10-11°C. Styrene is a flammable liquid which must be stored away from ignition sources, excessive heat and direct sunlight. Avoid contact with oxidising agents and halides.