Styrene is mainly used in the manufacture of homopolymers and copolymers. Its predominant use is in polystyrene (PS), which is produced in general purpose (GPPS), high impact (HIPS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) grades. Other major consumers of styrene include the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene-acrylonitrile polymer resins (SAN), and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR).
Unsaturated polyester resins, protective coatings (styrene-butadiene latex, alkyds), styrenated polyesters, rubber-modified polystyrene and other copolymer resins (styrene-divinylbenzene copolymers, acrylic ester-styrene, styrene-butadiene elastomers) account for the remainder.
There are a wide range of end uses for styrene’s derivatives including packaging, construction materials, automotive parts including tyres, household goods, electrical appliances and electronic cases, and drinking cups and other food use items.
Styrene monomer is a highly flammable liquid when exposed to flames, sparks or heat. Tanks or other sealed containers of styrene may explode when subjected to external heat. Uncontrolled polymerisation of styrene may cause the liquid to boil and vapourise.
Styrene irritates the eyes and respiratory system. Liquid styrene and concentrated styrene vapour can result in severe eye irritation while prolonged skin contact can cause blistering. Overall, the toxicity of styrene monomer is relatively low.
To find out more Styrene Methodology September 2013