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The Plastic Evolution - Polystyrene Manufacturing Materials

Polystyrene: The Multifaceted Marvel

Continuing our journey through the annals of plastic history, we arrive at the versatile and ever-present Polystyrene. Discovered in the mid-19th century, this polymer has weaved its way into numerous everyday applications, from packaging to toys.

Amey Plastics manufactures a wide range of products in polystyrene. For example, these football lampshades are made from hi impact styrene plastic (HIPS).

Football Lampshade

Historical Background: Polystyrene was first synthesised in 1839 by Eduard Simon, a German apothecary. He stumbled upon it accidentally when distilling an oily substance from the resin of the Turkish sweetgum tree. However, it wasn't until the 1930s that BASF, a German chemical company, began the large-scale production of polystyrene.


  1. Easily Moulded: When heated, polystyrene becomes malleable, allowing for a wide range of shapes and applications.

  2. Lightweight: Its low weight makes it a preferred choice for shipping and packaging.

  3. Good Insulator: With its insulative properties, it's widely used in building insulation and packaging for temperature-sensitive items.

  4. Transparent to Opaque: Depending on its processing, it can range from being clear to completely opaque.


  1. Affordable: Polystyrene's production costs are relatively low, making it an economical choice for many industries.

  2. Versatility: Available in many forms, like expanded polystyrene (EPS) or high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), it serves multiple applications.

  3. Durability: Especially in its solid form, polystyrene can last a long time without showing wear.


  1. Environmental Concerns: Being non-biodegradable, polystyrene poses disposal challenges. Expanded polystyrene (often mistakenly called "Styrofoam", a brand name) is especially problematic as it fragments into microplastics.

  2. Flammability: Polystyrene can catch fire easily and emit toxic fumes when burned.

  3. Flammability: Polystyrene can catch fire easily and emit toxic fumes when burned.

From coffee cup lids to protective packaging, polystyrene's presence is undeniable. Its versatility is both a testament to human ingenuity and a reminder of the challenges we face in ensuring sustainable material use. As our series progresses, we'll delve deeper into the polymers that shape our world, highlighting both their marvels and their pitfalls.

For inquiries or to discuss plastic-based projects, connect with the Amey Plastics team at 01730 266525 or drop an email to


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