How can I dissolve polystyrene?

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Offline thedoc

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How can I dissolve polystyrene?
« on: 15/05/2015 20:50:01 »
Danny asked the Naked Scientists:
   
What cheap solvent can I use to dissolve polystyrene to make another usable material?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/05/2015 20:50:01 by _system »

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Offline chris

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Re: How can I dissolve polystyrene?
« Reply #1 on: 15/05/2015 21:32:32 »
I'd imagine that petrol would work extremely well...
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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: How can I dissolve polystyrene?
« Reply #2 on: 15/05/2015 21:39:02 »
Acetone works very well for dissolving polystyrene, relatively non-toxic, and fairly easy to remove from the polystyrene (you can do this by evaporation outside or in a well ventilated area). It may also be possible to remove the acetone with water (acetone is very soluble in water but polystyrene is not) so you could try pouring the solution into a bucket of water and then collecting the resulting polystyrene scum from the surface of the water...

You can buy acetone quite cheaply at a hardware store, and some pharmacies might carry it as well.

*Note that acetone is also quite flammable, so be careful around possible sources of ignition (no smoking, no mad-scientist-style van de Graaf generators etc. etc.)*

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Offline Colin2B

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Re: How can I dissolve polystyrene?
« Reply #3 on: 15/05/2015 23:17:06 »
Danny asked the Naked Scientists:   
What cheap solvent can I use to dissolve polystyrene to make another usable material?
When you say usable material, what do you have in mind??
and the misguided shall lead the gullible,
the feebleminded have inherited the earth.

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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: How can I dissolve polystyrene?
« Reply #4 on: 16/05/2015 20:27:06 »
Polystyrene does not dissolve in acetone.
However the solvent softens it to a sticky putty like material that may be "useful"
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Offline 1011300

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Re: How can I dissolve polystyrene?
« Reply #5 on: 12/06/2015 09:01:29 »
Standard model glue works extremely well at dissolving polystyrene.
The glass containers, not the tubes.