Topics: Hydrocarbon, Benzene, Carbon Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: February 26, 2011

Background of the Study
Plastic is everywhere. It is commonly used as a packing material for foods or goods and other products. You usually see it as waste when you’re done using it. A waste that is harmful to the environment when it’s not disposed properly. This study will introduce you a new and best way to recycle plastic, specifically, Styrofoam. Styrofoam is a trademark of the Dow Company, but the material itself is called polystyrene. Like so many other plastics, it’s all around us –very commonly used in packing material as peanuts or expanded foam, in food trays and a wide variety of other products - even explosives such as napalm and hydrogen bombs. When you mix Styrofoam with gasoline, the Styrofoam breaks down. All the air inside escapes and it becomes a wet, gooey mess. If left out to dry, it gets hard again, but not like before. Without the air - it resembles plastic. Polystyrene is an aromatic hydrocarbon, it has several complicated double covalent bonds and is a chain of styrene molecules (C6H5CH=CH2) which is much unsaturated. Gasoline is made up of an assortment of simple aliphatic hydrocarbons such as ethane and isobutene and some aromatic hydrocarbons added as enhancers, as their break-up generates more energy. When you drop polystyrene into gasoline; the high energy bonds in the aromatic chain break in favor of simpler single covalent bonds. The end effect is that the mass of polystyrene breaks apart releasing the trapped air, and forms into a mass of new hydrocarbon chains, which forms some fort of amorphous solid, a slimy film of the Ethane-styrene bonded chains and gasoline. There shouldn't be any gases released which are any different from the vapors off of the original gasoline. You are only in trouble when you burn it; this is when it starts to bond with oxygen forming things like carbon monoxide. This study is designed for educational purposes, paying particular attention to the social, environmental and...
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