Acetone vs Styrofoam: Difference and Comparison

Everyone has wondered in their life about how magic works. Magic is all about playing with science and mathematics. Now, even you can disappear anything by using acetone and styrofoam.

They both are organic compounds used to disappear things and they vary in many parameters.

Key Takeaways

  1. Acetone is an organic solvent commonly used as a nail polish remover, while Styrofoam is a polystyrene foam used for insulation and packaging.
  2. Acetone can dissolve Styrofoam due to its ability to break down polystyrene molecules.
  3. Acetone is a volatile and flammable liquid, while Styrofoam is a lightweight and non-flammable solid.

Acetone vs Styrofoam

Acetone is a solvent that can dissolve the chemical bonds in polystyrene foam, causing it to break down and dissolve. This is why acetone is used as a  solvent for polystyrene-based materials. When acetone comes into contact with Styrofoam, it causes the foam to shrink and dissolve rapidly.

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Acetone is a colorless organic compound and known as (CH3)2CO. It belongs to the propane category and is highly demanded in laboratories for cleaning purposes.

Acetone easily dissolves in water and evaporates in the air faster as it is a flammable solvent. The chemical properties of acetone are colorless, volatile, and flammable liquid.

Styrofoam is a type of polystyrene and it is derived from a trade name polystyrene foam which is a polymer made by a long chain of molecules.

Styrofoam is popularly used to make food containers, construct roofs, and walls, etc. The chemical properties of styrofoam are that they are hard, lightweight, blue compound, and a poor conductor of heat.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAcetoneStyrofoam
DefinitionIt is an organic compound that is a propanone and the smallest ketone.It is an expanded form of polystyrene known as the blue board.
FormulaThe chemical formula is (CH3)2CO.The chemical formula is C8H8.
Chemical propertiesColorless, dissolves in water, and evaporates in air.Rough, lightweight, light blue compound and poor conductor or heat.
ScopeAcetone dissolves styrofoam.Styrofoam gets dissolved in acetone.
PurposesCommonly used as a solvent and cleaning purposes.Commonly used as building insulators and food containers.

What is Acetone?

Acetone is an organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2CO and it is the smallest ketone. Acetone has chemical properties like colorless, volatile, and solvent.

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It easily dissolves in the water and evaporates in the air being a flammable solvent. They are widely used as a solvent and also for cleaning purposes in households, industries, and laboratories.

The process of production of acetone is in the human body through another process called metabolism. As it gets dissolved in water, it is used in the production of methyl methacrylate.

People with diabetics produce a larger amount of acetone. Acetone is also disposed of through the human body in the form of urine and blood.

Acetone was found by Andreas Libavius in 1606 and belongs to the category of propanone. It is widely used all over the world for different purposes by all the sectors of the economy.

Households used acetone for cleaning purposes, industries used acetone as a solvent and in agriculture, it is rarely used to kill unwanted insects spoiling the growth of the plants.

It was produced largely by the United States and also consumed in higher quantities by the US, Taiwan, and also China, etc. Hence, acetone served as one of the important organic compounds which are used worldwide by all the sectors of the economy.


What is Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is an expanded form of polystyrene and it was initially a trademark used to manufacture polyester foam made of a long chain of polymer molecules.

It has chemical properties like rough, lightweight, light blue substance, a poor conductor of heat, and have the ability to float on top of liquids, etc. Hence, it does not get dissolved in water or liquids.

Styrofoam is widely used as a building insulator as it has the chemical property of being poor of heat. In addition to this, it is also used in the manufacture of food containers like cups and plates.

One of the outstanding uses of styrofoam is that it can be used to prevent soil disturbance under the road caused due to rain or snow.

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Styrofoam is manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company. It is an American multinational company and one of the world’s leading producers of chemicals, plastics, and other agricultural products like fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

The company is among the top three largest chemical manufacturers in the world. They own the license and brand mark of styrofoam.

Hence, styrofoam is used in many parts of the world for various purposes and is highly demanded by all sectors of the economy.


Main Differences Between Acetone and Styrofoam

  1. The elements of acetone are oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon while styrofoam is an expanded form of polystyrene.
  2. Acetone is widely used for cleaning purposes and production of methyl methacrylate while styrofoam is used for manufacturing food containers and preventing soil disturbance under the road in cases of rain and snow.
  3. Styrofoam easily dissolves in acetone like the sugar in the water as it is a good solvent for polystyrene.
  4. Acetone disappears any substance into the air quickly while styrofoam dissolves any substance and requires some time for the substance to completely disappear.
  5. Acetone gets mixed or dissolved in water while styrofoam does not get dissolved in water as it is a compound made of polystyrene and foam.
  6. In terms of disposal of chemicals, it is easier to dispose of acetone than styrofoam as burning styrofoam can be harmful to the environment.
Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Acetone vs Styrofoam: Difference and Comparison”

  1. While this article presents insightful information, it is vital to acknowledge the environmental impact of these compounds and their interactions. The potential consequences of these chemical processes must be carefully considered.

  2. The intricate connection between acetone and styrofoam is very fascinating. It demonstrates how a solvent like acetone can effectively dissolve polystyrene foam. Understanding the chemical properties and reactions involved in this process is quite remarkable.

  3. The detailed comparison between acetone and styrofoam very informative and provides a comprehensive analysis of these compounds. This knowledge is invaluable in understanding their specific properties and characteristics.

    • I completely agree with the analysis provided in this article. The clarity and depth of the information are quite commendable.

  4. Incredible how technology and science have made it possible for these two compounds to interact in such a unique way. The fact that acetone can dissolve styrofoam is puzzling and amazing at the same time. We continue to understand how these compounds can be used in different industries.

  5. This is truly a remarkable discovery. The feature that explains how acetone and styrofoam interact is particularly thought-provoking. These findings have the potential to influence various applications and processes. Both compounds are indeed significant in their own right.

    • I think it’s incredible how these details were discovered. The properties involved in the interaction of acetone and styrofoam are truly fascinating and complex. It’s definitely an interesting area of study.

  6. The demonstration of how acetone and styrofoam interact provides an intriguing perspective on the impact of chemical reactions. The potential applications and implications of these findings are intriguing.


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