Polystyrene

Hazards: 

Toluene is flammable and toxic.  Avoid breathing the fumes.

Chemicals and Solutions: 

Toluene

Materials: 

Styrofoam cups

Dishes

Water

"Eco-Foam" starch based Packing Material

from American Excelsior Co. Arlington, Texas 76011

Procedure: 

Dissolve some pieces of styrofoam in toluene. (Like dissolves like!  The toluene is like a black hole for styrofoam.)  Allow the solution to evaporate in the hood.  The clear film residue remaining after the toluene evaporates is also polystyrene.

Dissolve some of the starch "Eco-foam" packing pellets in water: like dissolves like again!

Try dissolving the styrofoam in water and the "eco-foam" in toluene.  They do not dissolve.

Hint: 

Discussion: 

Polystyrene has the following structure:

The structure of toluene is:

                                                                       

 

 

 

 

To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.

 

Contact:

Eric Camp

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606

ericcamp@uw.edu

 

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