Styrene monomer is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH = CH2 or C8H8 and is a derivative of benzene. Styrene monomer is a colorless oily liquid, although older specimens may be yellowish. The compound evaporates easily and has a sweet odor, although in high concentrations it has a less pleasant odor. Styrene is a precursor to polystyrene and several other copolymers. Approximately 25 million tons of styrene were produced in 2010, and this amount has increased to about 35 million tons in 2018. In the continuation of this PETROPROVIDERS article, join us to show you the applications of styrene monomer.

Applications of styrene monomer in industry

styrene uses

styrene uses

Synthetic styrene is an important raw material in the industry; Because it is a basic chemical compound for creating many versatile plastics and synthetic rubbers with useful properties. These features include strength, durability, comfort, lightweight, safety, and energy efficiency.

Styrene monomer is typically converted to pellets or polymers that can be heated, melted, and plasticized.

Almost everyone is exposed to styrene-based products every day. Styrene-made materials can be found in many familiar items, including food and beverage containers, packaging, and rubber. In addition, styrene is used to produce the following:

  • Building insulation
  • Carpet back
  • Computers
  • Reinforced fiberglass composites such as boat hulls, corrugated boards, and kitchen tables

Most monomers styrene is used in the production of polystyrene for items such as medical devices, household appliances, beverage cups, food containers, and refrigerator door liners.

Polystyrenes are one of the most important thermoplastic materials that are used in various industries. This polymer is also used to produce durable plastics and building insulation. These chemicals are produced in different grades and are offered to global markets at various prices.

Polystyrene is used to make home appliances, auto parts, building insulation, and durable plastics. In addition, polystyrene is used to make rubbers, electronics, and toys.

Industrial methods of producing styrene monomer

Producing styrene monomer

Producing styrene monomer

Styrene is usually made from ethylbenzene, and almost all of the ethylbenzene produced worldwide is intended for styrene production. Ethylbenzene is produced by the Friedel-Kraft reaction between benzene and ethylene.

Initially, aluminum chloride was used as a catalyst in this reaction, but in modern production, it has been replaced by zeolite. Other methods of producing styrene monomer include the following:

1. Dehydrogenation to produce styrenes

About 80% of styrene is produced from the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene. This reaction is achieved by using overheated steam (up to 600 ° C) on an iron (III) oxide catalyst. The reaction is highly exothermic, reversible, and yields 88-94%.

2. Ethyl benzene hydroperoxide

Styrene is also commercially produced in a process called POSM or SM / PO as a by-product of styrene monomer/propylene oxide. In this process, ethylbenzene is treated with oxygen to form ethylbenzene hydroperoxide.

This hydroperoxide is then used to oxidize propylene to propylene oxide, which is recovered as a common product.

3. Reaction of toluene and methanol

Styrene can be made from toluene and methanol, which are cheaper raw materials than conventional products. In this reaction, a mixture of styrene and ethylbenzene is obtained in a ratio of 9: 1, which yields more than 60% of styrene.

4. Reaction of benzene and ethane to produce styrene monomer

Another route for styrene production involves the reaction of benzene and ethane. Ethane, together with ethylbenzene, enters a dehydrogenation reactor with a catalyst capable of producing styrene and ethylene simultaneously

The dehydrogenation effluent is cooled and separated and the ethylene stream is recycled in the alkyl unit. This method is one of the most important methods of styrene production; Because it is used in various industries and is used for the useful production of styrene.

Safety and dangers of styrene monomer

Styrene automatically turns into polymer polystyrene without the need for external primers. This reaction is known as “autopolymerization” and will occur at ambient temperature and above ambient temperature. At 100 ° C at a rate of about 2% per hour, the compound will polymerize and at higher temperatures, the reaction rate is higher.

The polymerization reaction is exothermic; Therefore, the real danger is fire and explosion. The autopolymerization reaction can only be controlled by the continuous addition of polymerization inhibitors.

The safety of styrene monomer has been evaluated for over 50 years. Extensive safety and health studies by manufacturers, academics, and government agencies have concluded that styrene-based plastics are safe for consumer use.

These studies show that styrene is not harmful in the amounts that people deal with, whether at work, as a consumer, or in everyday life. This conclusion is supported by many reputable international groups and regulatory bodies, including the European Union, the Harvard Risk Analysis Center, the US FDA, and the Health / Environment Canada.


Styrene monomer is often produced by the catalytic hydrogenation of ethylbenzene. Ethylbenzene is mixed in the gas phase with 10-15 times its volume in high-temperature steam (Super Heat).

Then, ethylbenzene is dehydrogenated by passing through a solid catalyst bed with iron (III) oxide covered with different percentages of potassium oxide or potassium carbonate.

Increasing consumption of styrene for the production of plastics and rubber has made this vital substance too important in the petrochemical industry. Currently, more than 95% of the styrene produced in the world is obtained from the hydrogenation of ethylene benzene.

Most of the existing production units are based on similar units designed in the 1940s, but in the relevant research centers, a catalytic system and special conditions have been tried to improve the production method.

What do you think about styrene monomer? Is this material useful for the production of various plastic products? Is this substance dangerous for human health and the environment? You can share your comments with us in the comments section. To buy the best styrene monomer, you can contact our experts.

What are the applications of styrene monomers?

This chemical is one of the most important materials used to produce various devices in global industries. They are used to produce paints, durable plastics, resins, industrial rubbers, rubbers, and insulation.

Is styrene monomer dangerous to human health and the environment?

Yes! This substance, if converted into polystyrene, is not harmful to human health. But if it is in the form of a monomer, it can damage the eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.

Yes! This substance, if converted into polystyrene, is not harmful to human health. But if it is in the form of a monomer, it can damage the eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.

If inhaled in an environment containing styrene monomer, it rises through your nose and damages your nasal mucosa. In addition, it can damage the CNS.

Which foods have styrene monomer?

Normally, healthy foods do not have this monomer. filberts, dried legumes, nectarines, Beaufort cheese, and fried chicken contain styrene monomer.