Physical Properties of Styrofoam

Physical properties of Sytrofoam
••• styrofoam business image by robert mobley from

Styrofoam (also known by the generic term “extruded polystyrene foam”) is one of the most widely used types of plastic today. The brand name “Styrofoam” is owned by Dow Chemical. It was invented by Ray McIntire during World War II. McIntire was trying to find a flexible electrical insulator when he made the accidental discovery. Styrofoam was introduced to the United States in 1954. Other lesser-known brand names for extruded polystyrene foam include "Foamular, ""Greenguard" and "Foamcore". Supplied to manufacturers as small foam beads, this versatile material can be processed and molded to fit a variety of purposes. Not only is polystyrene applied to such uses as Styrofoam, but it is a key component in napalm, CD jewel cases and many disposable plastic containers as well.


One of Styrofoam’s main physical properties is that it is a thermoplastic. This means that the material is solid at room temperature, but flows as a liquid when heated to a specific point. As a liquid, the Styrofoam can be molded in fine detail. This property makes it easy to utilize for many industries and applications. The main uses of this material today include insulation, packing material and craft material.

Lightweight & Shock Absorber

Styrofoam is that it is extremely lightweight. In addition it is an excellent shock absorber. This is due to the fact that Styrofoam is approximately 90 percent air. This makes the substance ideal for use as a packing material. The lightweight material is easy to transport, yet it effectively absorbs trauma, protecting the product from harm.


Styrofoam is an excellent insulator. The material limits thermal transfer. Thus, a structure insulated with Styrofoam will maintain a comfortable temperature inside, regardless of the conditions on the outside.

Related Articles

How Long Does it Take for Styrofoam to Break Down?
Why Is Styrofoam a Good Insulator?
Why Does Styrofoam Dissolve in Turpentine?
Difference Between Polystyrene & Polyurethane
How Do Certain Fabrics Hold Warmth?
How to Make Plastic
Silicone Lubricant Uses
Acetone and Styrofoam Experiment
How to Make Your Own Styrofoam Formula
Substances That Are Impermeable to Water
Differences Between Polyethylene and Polyurethane
What Are the Dangers of Accidentally Burning Styrofoam?
Things Made From Recycled Plastic
Uses of PVC Plastic
The Best Insulators to Keep Water Hot
How Does a Styrofoam Cooler Keep Things Cold?
Example of a Chemical Compound Used to Make Plastic
What Happens to Styrofoam in a Microwave?
How to Recycle Polystyrene Foam

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!