M2 Products - the Foam Board Factory
M2 Products - the Foam Board Factory
M2 Products - the Foam Board Factory

Sign & Display Foam Board

Background Information

Styrene, a petroleum by-product, is the primary raw material from which polystyrene is made. Styrene, first commercially produced in the 1930s, played an important role during World War II in the production of synthetic rubber. After the war, much of the use of styrene shifted to the manufacture of commercial polystyrene products. Synthetic styrene is also used in the manufacture of products such as automobile parts, electronic components, boats, recreational vehicles, and synthetic rubbers.

Modern man has known about styrene for centuries. A naturally occurring substance, styrene is present in many foods and beverages, including wheat, beef, strawberries, peanuts and coffee beans. Also found in the spice cinnamon, its chemical structure is similar to cinnamic aldehyde, the chemical component that elicits cinnamon's flavour.

Polystyrene meets stringent standards for use in food contact packaging and is safe for consumers.

Polystyrene foam products are 95 percent air and only five percent polystyrene for packaging, and 98 per cent air and 2 per cent polystyrene for Foam Board applications. When polystyrene foam is produced, a blowing agent is used in the process. Most polystyrene foam products never were made using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a blowing agent. Polystyrene foam products are now manufactured primarily using two types of blowing agents: Pentane ( or Butane) and Carbon Dioxide. Pentane/Butane gas has no effect on the upper ozone layer, although, if not recovered, it can contribute to low-level smog formation. Therefore, manufacturers use state-of-the-art technology to capture pentane/butane emissions.

With ever-evolving technology, some manufacturers use carbon dioxide (CO2 or other hydrocarbons in some cases) as an expansion agent for polystyrene foam. CO2 is non-toxic, non-flammable, does not contribute to low-level smog, and has no stratospheric ozone depletion potential. In addition, the carbon dioxide used for this technology is recovered from existing commercial and natural sources. As a result, the use of this blowing agent technology does not increase the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

1) PS is a good example of an efficient use of natural resources. The exceptional durability of PS makes it an effective and reliable support for a wide range of applications

2) The manufacture and use of PS does not generate any risk to health or to the environment.

3) PS does not damage the ozone layer since it does not and never has used CFCs or HCFCs in the manufacturing process.

4) The conversion process consumes little energy and does not generate waste.

5) PS products can come into direct contact with foodstuffs as PS meets all the prevailing international health regulations.

6) Fungi and bacteria cannot grow on PS, there is no loss of strength in damp conditions, the material is moisture resistant, and is also odourless and non-toxic.

7) PS makes up only a tiny part of the average Municipal Solid Waste (0.1%).

8) PS holds a high calorific value (1 kg of PS is the equivalent of 1.3 litres of liquid fuel), making it an ideal material for energy recovery.

9) Since it is insoluble in water, PS does not emit hydro soluble substances that could contaminate subterranean water supplies.

10) Raw PS is 100 per cent recyclable.