Polystyrene is produced by the polymerization of the monomer styrene, which is derivative of petroleum. The chemical structure of polystyrene shows that it is composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms only. Thus, it is classified as hydrocarbon. Thus polystyrene does not contain chloride in its chemical structure and it does not produce chlorine during the production stage.
- Polystyrene is chemically inert and does not react with most substances.
- It dissolves in some organic solvents. It is soluble in solvents that contain acetone, such as most aerosol paint sprays and cyanoacrylate glues.
- The transformation of carbon-carbon double bonds into less reactive single bonds in polystyrene, is the main reason for its chemical stability. Most of the chemical properties of polystyrene are a result of the unique properties of carbon.
- It is highly flammable and burns with an orange yellow flame, giving off carbon particles or soot, as a characteristic of all aromatic hydrocarbons. Polystyrene, on complete oxidation, produces only carbon dioxide and water vapor.