How Are Polystyrene Sheets Made

Polystyrene Sheets – How Are Polystyrene Sheets Made?

A polystyrene sheet is widely used in industrial settings with a wide variety of applications. They can act as insulators and are often used as a walling. It finds use in homes, buildings, and even plumbing systems. As its name implies, it is made of polystyrene which is made of a hydrocarbon material. It is a byproduct of petroleum and can vary in strength depending on how it is processed.

Two types of Polystyrene sheet

A polystyrene sheet can either be made of Extruded Polystyrene or Expanded Polystyrene Sheets, the former being the more durable of the two. Because of this, Extruded Polystyrene sheets are often used in many structures. They can provide considerable strength for different uses. For applications that require less strength, expanded polystyrene is used instead. The difference between the characteristics of the two is in the how they are produced and processed.

How Is It Made

Polystyrene sheets of both kinds are made of polystyrene foams which are made of a widely used plastic material called styrene. In the case of Extruded sheets, the beads are melted and given shape through metal molds. This creates a more durable material thus giving it a wide variety of use in constructions. In the case of Expanded sheets, the beads are merely pressed together and given shape using molds. This creates a less durable finish. But even though it is less durable, it is still an effective insulator.

Incredible Buoyancy

Although considerably solid, strong, and durable, polystyrene sheets are incredibly light. This is because the material polystyrene foam is almost 90% air. This gives these sheets their incredible buoyancy. As such, the material is used by the US Navy to make life preservers and life rafts. It has been in use during the World War II and is still in use today. It now has a record of 50 years of being in use in the industry. Also, its water-resistant property makes it a perfect material for water contact.

Confusion with Styrofoam

One manufacturer of materials made of Extruded Polystyrene named their products Styrofoam. Since then, the term has become a general term used to refer to the material. However, products you see daily which are conveniently referred to as Styrofoam which might include coffee cups, food containers, and condiments are not really made of Styrofoam. Instead, they are actually made of Expanded Polystyrene and are sometimes even made of a completely different material.