Polystyrene is one of the largest volume commodity thermoplastics that can be converted into a large number of semi-finished products like foams, films, and sheets. This amorphous, nonpolar and low-cost thermoplastic has excellent optical clarity due to the lack of crystallinity, good chemical resistance to diluted acids and bases, no odor and taste, and excellent thermal and electrical properties for insulation purposes. It is also easy to fabricate into a large number of finished goods since the resin is a viscous liquid above its glass transition temperature that can be easily molded and foamed. However, polystyrene has several limitations; it is hard and rather brittle, has poor oxygen and UV resistance, is readily attacked by hydrocarbon solvents and its upper service temperature is relatively low. Some of these limitations can be overcome by blending polystyrene with elastomers or by copolymerization with other monomers.

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