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Foamed polystyrene is Styrofoam.
It is made by expanding polystyrene beads to a foam.
The beads have a ‘blowing agent’ usually pentane, but it can be something else.
By heating the beads, the blowing agent expands the beads, and the heat fuses the beads.
There is large about of polystyrene foam around as garbage. Some are floating in the ocean.
This polystyrene foam garbage could be collected for recycling to use it as a construction part
of a seasteading platform.
The polystyrene foam garbage would has to be reprocessed. First step of the reprocess
probably would be collection. The second would be probably defoaming. By defoaming I mean to
turn polystyrene foam into polystyrene. This could be done by dissolving the foam into acetone,
or other organic solvent. Beads could be formed again. When the blowing agent is introduced
to these recycled beads, expansion foam becomes possible again.
And this is where I am stuck a bit. How are expandable polystyrene beads are produced in the first case?
My guess is that the beads are mixed with the blowing agent and kept under pressure. That is to allow the
organic solvent, blowing agent to diffuse into the beads. However I cannot find any description of this.
If pentane is one of the blowing agent, than could propane be also used? It is easier to get propane.
Any response would be appreciated.
Boat made out of plastic bottles sails the Pacific
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