PS, unmodified styrene, forms part of the styrene plastic group, one of the most widely used plastics. The property profile can be modified in the desired direction by copolymerisation. The most common modified styrene plastics are styrene butadiene (SB) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Polystyrene is mostly used without filler. The options for colouring are unlimited, the natural colour being clear, colourless (SB has a slightly milky colour).
The material is hard and stiff, and easy to hot-form. Water absorption is low. Styrene also has good electrical insulating properties.
The outdoor resistance of polystyrene is less good, as it is sensitive to both cold and sunlight. The plastic has limited impact tolerance, low softening temperature and low resistance to oils and solvents.
Polystyrene is principally used for various kinds of consumer products, for example disposable articles, packaging, toys, furniture, composting toilets, refrigerators, shower partitions, light screens and indoor signs.
Styrene burns with a sooting, orange-yellow flame and has a sweet odour.