17 May EPS nature friendly
Polystyrene is defined as an “earth care” material throughout its life cycle. It consists of polystyrene granules, a thermoplastic resin obtained from three consecutive processes:
• The synthesis of ethylene and benzene which produces ethylbenzene;
• The hydrogenation of ethylbenzene that produces styrene;
• • The polymerization of styrene which produces polystyrene.
In the polymerization process an expanding agent is dissolved, generally the pentane, as well as other additives which add or enhance the qualities of the material, such as flame retardants for self-extinguishing or graphite to enhance their insulating capacity.
Its salient features can thus be summarized:
• It consists of 98% of air and therefore it uses as an integral part a renewable and clean raw material, to which is added only 2% of pentane, a non-renewable fossil resources;
• It maintains its characteristics unaltered over time, being unaffected by external agents such as bacteria and molds and with a high resistance to shocks;
• It is ductile and lightweight, usable in a variety of packaging situation or in any context where you want to protect and isolate with the lowest weight and maximum performance (the soul of a helmet or of child safety seat for car);
• It is not water-soluble and therefore does not release any harmful substance into the environment or to human health. So, it is one of the preferred materials for contact with food;
• It is a powerful insulator, used in all contexts in which this is a necessary quality, from construction to transport in controlled temperature in the food and pharmaceutical sectors;
• It is 100% recyclable an infinite number of times. When this can’t be possible, it can be heat-treated to generate heat, with performance comparable to fuel oil, finding employment in the production of electricity.
Regarding recycling this can be done with various methods.
The recycling polystyrene can be ground and placed in a special extruder, mixing it with virgin material in different percentages depending on the type of granulate you want to obtain, or you can pick up the expanding agent for use in the market of solvents based on light hydrocarbons.
Another possibility is to reduce it again into pearls, always mixing it with a percentage of virgin material depending on the density and the compressive strength to be obtained, then reassembling it to insert it again in the production cycle.
Finally, the granulate can be used for the lightening of mortars and concretes in the building sector.