What is styrene?


In chemistry , many compounds of type organic important which result from the binding that occurs between carbon atoms and hydrogen. One of these compounds is known by the name of styrene , which is widely used as a raw material in the production of a large number of homopolymers and copolymers which also have impressive properties in industries.

Styrene What is it, characteristics, what is it for, how to obtain it, formula

  • Molecular Formula: C 8 H 8
  • Molar mass: 104.1491 g / mol

What is styrene?

The styrene is a type of chemical compound which comprises a benzene ring . It is a liquid that has no color and that can evaporate very easily, used mainly in the manufacture of plastics and rubber .

  • Styrene Characteristics
  • History
  • Who discovered it
  • Styrene properties
  • Formula
  • Structure
  • What is styrene for?
  • Effects edit
  • How to get styrene
  • Importance

Styrene Characteristics

Among the main characteristics found in styrene we find the following:

  • It is a liquid that is characterized by being colorless and transparent .
  • They have a very sweet smell .
  • Its appearance is oily .
  • It is insoluble in water but it is soluble in liquids such as alcohol and ether.
  • When exposed to heat it can be easily polymerized .
  • It is quite flammable .
  • It turns out to be a toxic liquid when inhaled or when ingested.
  • It is an unsaturated hydrocarbon .
  • It can be produced naturally in small amounts by plants , fungi, and bacteria .
  • It is also known by the name of vinyl benzene .


The discovery of styrene is credited to Newman in 1786 . After inventing it, many experiments were carried out using the compound and in 1839 , the first processes of polymerizing it began , although many of them failed. The first man to carry out the process effectively and positively was Herman Staudinger , who later explained the procedure by formulating a theory that became known as the Polymerization Theory . This even made him the recipient of a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1930.

It was a widely used compound throughout the Second World War as a substitute for other materials and in the 50’s they began to make more resistant materials used in styrene. By the end of the 20th century , more than 9 million metric tons of this compound were produced worldwide, which was and is used in the field of industry and construction .

Who discovered it

Styrene was discovered by Newman in 1786.

Styrene properties

Styrene has several important physical and chemical properties, including the following:

  • Its melting point is located at -30 ° C.
  • It has a density of 0.909 g / cm 3 .
  • Its viscosity is located at 0.762 cP.
  • Its molar mass is 104.15 g / mol.
  • It has a boiling point that is located at 145 ° C.
  • It is a chemical compound considered as apolar, this because it can be dissolved in some types of organic liquids, except water.
  • How much with a phenyl group and for this reason it is aromatic.
  • It also has a symmetrical carbon hexagonal ring which has a special and different bond that makes styrene have a rather unusual stability.
  • It can degrade very easily when it comes into contact with air.
  • Its heat of combustion is located at 25 ° C.
  • It is self-igniting when exposed to temperatures of 490 ° C.


The structural formula of styrene is as follows:

(C8H8) n- (C3H3N) m


The chemical structure of styrene is made up of an ethene molecule in which one of the hydrogen molecules is replaced by a phenyl group. It also conserves the carbon-carbon double bond that ethene provides. The double bond that makes it up, causes electrons to be present in abundant quantities, which makes it a very reactive molecule.

What is styrene for?

Styrene is a compound that has many uses, mainly within industries in the manufacture of various plastic polymers , in the production of rubber and in the manufacture of synthetic resins . It is a fundamental part in the manufacture of fibers, glass sheets, resins, in the manufacture of materials such as plastic, pipes and the different parts that make up automobiles.

It is also widely used in the manufacture of containers that are used to store food and in the coatings of some objects such as carpets. It is also a widely used material in the construction field as it is the main component of several types of insulators that are used in the insulation of houses, in fiberglass and in electrical insulation, such as in some kitchen utensils. and in electrical cables.

Effects edit

Styrene is a chemical compound that can cause various adverse effects when it comes into contact with humans. When workers or people are exposed to it, effects related mainly to the central nervous system can occur , such as vision problems, excessive tiredness, decreased ability to react, problems concentrating and imbalance.

It has been shown that animals that have been exposed for long periods to this compound have suffered hearing loss , decreased sense of smell and serious problems in the liver . In addition, it is considered a compound capable of producing cancer.

How to get styrene

The obtaining of styrene is carried out in the chemical industry and to achieve this, ethylene and benzene are used through polymerization , a process that occurs gradually and lasts at room temperature. The speed of this process can be increased when the temperature is increased.


Styrene is a very important chemical compound within the industry as it turns out to be the main component of a large number of products that are used every day around the world. It is important because it is the main component in the production of polymers such as polystyrene, copolymer elastomers such as rubber and in other products necessary for the manufacture of important machines and containers . It is also, thanks to its mechanical resistance, being the main component for the manufacture of parts for cars, boats and construction materials, which makes it an indispensable material in the manufacture of this type of parts.

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