My friend and I have been struggling through this problem for a couple days. Due to the fact that polystyrene has actually a comparable structure to numerous plastics, we assumed that it would dissolve in acetone. However, after ~ running numerous tests, we discovered that polystyrene would not dissolve in a measurable quantity even if we let the sit in acetone for a far-reaching amount that time.

You are watching: Why is polystyrene soluble in acetone

Here is the plastic we room attempting come dissolve:

And right here is a plastic much more easily dissolved:

We know that most molecular-bonded plastic dissolve via van der Waals dispersion forces, therefore why isn"t polystyrene dissolving? My theory is the the benzene ring is interfering with the dissolving procedure -- the only fifty percent the link of polystyrene is interacting with the acetone and thus the does no dissolve prefer a polyethylene (which obviously has twice as much surface area to dissolve). solvents plastics
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asked Apr 21 "16 in ~ 1:54

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Polystyrene is dissolve in acetone, MEK and also other ketones, however solubility and the speed through which it dissolves depends, in part, on the molecular mass of the polymer.

If the solvent diffuses an extremely slowly right into the polystyrene, only the surface ar will appear to be affected. Applying a little of energy with heat or mechanically crushing of the plastic substantially speeds the activity of the solvent.

For more technical information, check out Solubility Parameters: Theory and also Application.

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reply Apr 21 "16 in ~ 18:59

DrMoishe PippikDrMoishe Pippik
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Have you taken into consideration monoterpenes as polystyrene solvents? have actually a look at at:

Shikata et al. (2011) dissolved of polystyrene right into cyclic monoterpenes present in tree essential oils. Journal of material Cycles and also Waste administration 13(2):127-130

Gutiérrez et al. (2012) Recycling of extruded polystyrene wastes through dissolution and supercritical CO2 technology. Journal of product Cycles and Waste monitoring 14(4):308-316.

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answered Feb 2 "17 in ~ 11:13

Christine CarsonChristine Carson
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