one company started manufacturing polystyrene in Ludwigshafen, about 1931, hoping it would be an appropriate replacement for die-cast zinc in many applications. Success was achieved when they developed a reactor vessel that extruded polystyrene through a heated tube and cutter, producing polystyrene in pellet form.
In 1941, Dow Chemical created a Styrofoam process.
Before 1949, the chemical engineer Fritz Stastny (1908–1985) developed pre-expanded PS beads by joining aliphatic hydrocarbons, such as pentane. These beads are the raw material for moulding parts or extruding sheets. BASF and Stastny applied for a patent that was issued in 1949. The moulding process was demonstrated at the Kunststoff Messe 1952 in Düsseldorf. Products were named Styropor.
The crystal structure of isotactic polystyrene was reported by Giulio Natta.
In 1954, the Koppers Company, Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, developed expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam.
In 1960, Dart Container, the largest manufacturer of foam cups, shipped their first order.
In 1988, the first U.S. ban of general polystyrene foam was enacted in Berkeley, California.