polystyrene (pŏlˌēstĪˈrēn) [key], widely used plastic; it is a polymer of styrene. Polystyrene is a colorless, transparent thermoplastic that softens slightly above 100°C (212°F) and becomes a viscous liquid at around 185°C (365°F). It is resistant to acids, alkalies, oils, and alcohols. It is produced either as a solid or as a foamed plastic marketed under the trade name Styrofoam. Its many uses include electrical and thermal insulation, translucent window panels, storage-battery cases, and toilet articles.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.