Polystyrene Packaging Material

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Polystyrene Packaging Material
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Expanded polystyrene receives a lot of negative press, partly due to the adverse environmental effects it is often associated with. No known organism can biodegrade it, and because it is so lightweight and friable, it has historically been an abundant and very visible form of pollution - especially on beaches and riverbanks. From a sensory point of view, it is vilified for its squeak, which, according to our very own Mark Miodownik, “curdles the brain much like the scratch of fingernails on a blackboard" (Materials Today, 2006), and the feeling of biting into it is sensually abhorrent. 

However, this unloved material is used extensively in construction because it is a great thermal, vibration and acoustic insulator: by dampening sound, it protects against seismic activity and retains heat. Because of its excellent impact-resistance and light weight we rely on it to protect fragile goods (in packaging) and our heads (in bicycle helmets). Sculptors, scenographers and prop-makers rely on it to make lightweight and realistic models. Mock-ups of temples, palaces, and even the iconic shoot-out in the federal building in The Matrix are as convincing as they are thanks to polystyrene.

Sample ID: 9


Acoustic | Foam | Impact-resistant | Insulating | Light | Polymer | White

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