- Pages: 2
- Word count: 365
- Category: Oil Plastic Pollution
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Styrofoam is the trademarked name of the plastic foam polystyrene. Polystyrene is not biodegradable and resists compression, making it a persistent part of landfill waste. When acetone and polystyrene are combined, the polystyrene dissolves. For the investigatory project, the student could explore the effectiveness of acetone in reducing polystyrene for recycling. The student could measure how much polystyrene is dissolved by a particular volume of acetone.
Dissolve Styrofoam cups in a series of 500ml beakers containing increasing volumes of acetone. For example, fill five beakers with 10 ml, 20 ml, 50ml, 100ml and 200ml of acetone. Place a stack of five 6-oz. Styrofoam cups in each beaker and measure the amount of time it takes for the stack to dissolve. Continue adding one cup at a time to the acetone until the acetone no longer dissolves the cups. Repeat the experiment three to five times for each volume to get an average time and an average number of cups.
2 Styrofoam cups
50ml Pure Acetone
Stick or Spoon (for mixing)
1. Tear up or cut your Styrofoam cup into small pieces.
2. Pour some pure acetone in the container.
3. Put the Styrofoam in the container where the pure acetone was poured.
4. The Styrofoam will then break down into a thin liquid form. Take the resulting liquid.
5. Label it well as “Glue” before you put it away, so you and your household will know what it is.
6. Choose to use your glue wisely, as it can also act as a type of sealant. Once you use it, just like some of the better super glues it is there to stay and is very hard to get off.
Definition of terms
Acetone – (systematically named proponone) is the organic compound with the formula (CH3) 2CO. It is a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid, and is the simplest ketone. Acetone is miscible with water and serves as an important solvent in its own right, typically for cleaning purposes in the laboratory.
Polystyrene – is extracted from oil. Thousands of small units of styrene called monomers link together to form large molecules of polystyrene by a process called polymerization.