Polystyrene is a "polymer of styrene." Polymers are large molecules consisting of adjoined identical molecules, and styrene is a colorless, oily liquid. When polystyrene is made, its structure is that of a rigid transparent thermoplastic, resembling a stiff white foam. It is one of the most common types of plastic, and it can be found in the home, in the office, at industrial sites, and just about any other place you would find plastics. Businesses rely on polystyrene for a number of uses, including manufacturing, packaging, and construction.
Plastic forks, DVD cases, the outside housing of computers, model cars, toys, rulers, and hair combs are all made from hard polystyrene. It is found frequently in the food industry and used as a disposable transportation system to keep hot and cold foods at desired temperatures. Disposable and reusable items can be made from polystyrene as it is cheap but durable.
The packaging industry is also a fan of polystyrene. Foam peanuts and other polystyrene packaging materials keep delicate items safely ensconced in boxes, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a popular item for both individuals and businesses. Electronics, glassware, and chemicals are all kept safe with EPS. Foam peanuts can be poured loosely into boxes to house any shape of item, or EPS can be easily formed by manufactures to fit products exactly and provide the safest possible packaging.
Polystyrene is also found in the building business. Polystyrene block is used as an energy efficient means for constructing both homes and businesses. Polystyrene block form construction is touted as providing homes with even temperatures and fewer drafts. This type of construction also reduces noise, heating and cooling bills, and general maintenance. Durability and strength is also offered by this type of block form construction. The polystyrene is used in conjunction with reinforced concrete and is therefore a winner in the battle against weather calamities.
Whatever the industry, polystyrene is likely to show up in at least some capacity. It's durability, range of hardness and flexibility, as well as it's low cost make it a popular material for a number of projects. As an insulator, protector, and product with the ability to conform to any shape, it is hard to beat as a universal manufacturing material, and it will likely be found in a full range of industries for years to come.