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Styrene is an organic compound from the group of aromatic hydrocarbons. As a starting material for the production of polymer plastics, it is of great importance for the chemical industry. The substance is mainly obtained from the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene, which is carried out in large-scale processes with excess water vapor and an alkaline catalyst made from iron(II) oxide. Some styrene can also be recovered from polystyrene products. In nature, the compound occurs as a flavoring in fruits such as kiwis and grapes, as well as in the styrax resin of the sweetgum tree, which gives it its name.

Styrene is a key raw material for polymerization processes in plastics production. In addition to its role as a monomer for the production of polystyrene (Styrofoam), it is used in the production of polyester resins and other plastic products such as acrylonitrile styrene acrylic ester, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, styrene butadiene and styrene acrylonitrile. As a component of such polymers, styrene is found in everyday plastic and rubber products, packaging, tires, paints, coatings and building materials. The chemical industry also uses the substance as a starting material for organic synthesis.

At PENPET you get styrene of the highest quality, from a reliable partner who will also meet your requirements in the long term. We look forward to receiving your inquiry for a bespoke offer. Prompt delivery of the liquid compound can be made in packages with different weights.

CAS no. 100-42-5
EINECS no. 202-851-5
Molecular formula: C8H8

Synonyms: Monostyrene, Styrene, Styrene Vinylbenzene, Ethenylbenzene, Phenylethylene, Phenylethene, Cinnamol, Ethenylbenzene

Areas of application: Monomer and comonomer for the production of polymer plastics and synthetic resins, raw material for syntheses in organic chemistry, solvent


More Information

Styrene is one of the substituted benzenes and consists of a benzene ring connected to a vinyl radical. The hexagonal ring structure is triple unsaturated. The substance is therefore one of the aromatic hydrocarbons. There is also a double bond between the two carbon atoms of the vinyl group, so that styrene preferentially enters into addition reactions. The two reactive sites are in competition with each other: While some addition reactions substitute at the vinyl group, other reactants preferentially react with the ring structure.

The molecules of the substance tend to polymerize even at room temperature. Here, the carbon atoms of adjacent vinyl groups bond, breaking the double bond, resulting in complex molecules with an extremely regular chain structure. A stabilizer is added to the product to prevent spontaneous polymerization processes.

Styrene is a clear, colorless liquid with strong refractive properties. It is moderately volatile and has a characteristic odor with a pleasant, sweet note. The compound solidifies on cooling to temperatures below -31 °C and reaches its boiling point at 145 °C. Styrene is lighter than water and only slightly soluble in it. When the two liquids come into contact, the undissolved amounts of styrene float on top of the water. In contrast, the substance is highly soluble in many organic solvents such as acetone, benzene, ethanol, methanol, diethyl ether and carbon disulfide.

Styrene can only be stored stably if it is stored in an airtight, dark and cool place. It should be noted that the stabilizers contained lose their effectiveness through contact with oxygen. Unstabilized styrene tends to spontaneously polymerize even at room temperature. Heating and exposure to light additionally promote the polymerization tendency of the substance. Exposure to ambient air can form explosive peroxides. Explosive polymerizations can cause closed containers to burst.

The compound is flammable. Their vapors form highly flammable vapor-air mixtures with the ambient air. Due to their high density, these vapors can collect on the ground and spread unnoticed. This can lead to explosions and remote ignition of open containers of styrene. The compound must therefore be kept away from possible sources of ignition such as open flames, electrical contacts, electrostatically charged surfaces and mechanically generated sparks. The combustion and thermal decomposition of styrene produces irritating and toxic gases, including the release of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

Styrene is a skin-irritating hazardous substance that poses acute and chronic health risks. Contact can cause redness, edema and blistering of the skin. Allergic reactions are possible but rare. Repeated exposure can lead to degreasing and sensitization of the contact area. Soaked parts of the body should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water and then examined by a dermatologist. Compound vapors or splashes may cause swelling and redness of the conjunctiva in the eye. Temporary damage to the cornea can also occur. The affected eye should be rinsed thoroughly under running water. This should be followed by ophthalmologic treatment.

Ingestion or inhalation of styrene can result in absorption of the compound into metabolism. As a result, disorders of the central nervous system such as dizziness, headaches and cramps can occur. If poisoning is suspected, seek medical attention immediately.

Although styrene is biodegradable over the long term, it is considered to be clearly hazardous to water due to its damaging effects on aquatic organisms. The compound must not enter water bodies, the ground or waste water. In the event of a large spillage of the substance, the local authorities should be informed. As a flammable hazardous substance, styrene is subject to special transport regulations.

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