What is Polystyrene ?
Polystyrene can be rigid or foamed.
General purpose polystyrene is clear, hard and fragile. It is a cheap resin per unit weight.
Polystyrene is a rather poor barrier to oxygen and water vapor and has a relatively low melting point.
Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale of its production being several billion kilograms per year in world wide.
Polystyrene can be naturally transparent, but can be colored with colorants.
Uses include protective packaging (such as packing peanuts and CD and DVD cases), containers (such as "clamshells"), lids, bottles, trays, tumblers, and disposable cutlery.
As a thermoplastic polymer, polystyrene is in a hard (glassy) state at room temperature but flows if heated more than 100 °C, its glass transition temperature. It becomes rigid again when cooled. This temperature behavior is exploited for extrusion, and also for molding and vacuum forming, meanwhile it can be cast into molds with fine detail.
It is very slow to biodegrade and therefore a focus of controversy, since it is regularly abundant as a form of litter in the outdoor environment, particularly along shores and waterways especially in its foam form.