Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam

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Everyone at some point in their lives has pondered the question of how magic can be performed. Playing with science and mathematics is at the heart of the magical arts. Now, if you use some acetone and some Styrofoam, you can make almost anything vanish. Both of these substances are organic molecules that are employed to make things vanish, and they differ in many other characteristics.

In the study of Organic Chemistry, the number of chemicals that may be counted is potentially infinite. All of the compounds may be found in a variety of forms, and their applications also vary. In addition, the fact that each has its own unique set of chemical features helps to differentiate them from one another. Both acetone and Styrofoam are subject to identical circumstances, even though they each have their unique chemical qualities, components, applications, and reasons for even being.

When opposed to water, which is a highly polar solvent, acetone's lack of polarity makes it an ideal choice for use in the production of styrofoam, which is composed of polystyrene and foam. Because of their comparable polarity, the carbon-hydrogen bonds that are found in Styrofoam may be dissolved by acetone.

Acetone vs Styrofoam

The rate at which objects vanish is the primary factor that differentiates acetone and styrofoam from one another. In a matter of only seconds, acetone can make anything vanish like magic, but dissolving a material in styrofoam may take anything from a few to several seconds, depending on the components of the item. This is because acetone is a solvent that is capable of dissolving styrofoam.

Acetone is a chemical compound with the formula (CH3)2CO. It is odorless and colorless. It is within the category of propane, and the demand for it in labs, where it is used for cleaning, is quite strong. Because it is a flammable solvent, acetone is simple to disperse in water and has a high rate of evaporation when exposed to air. Acetone is a liquid that is odorless, volatile, and flammable. Its chemical characteristics are as follows: colorless, volatile, and flammable.

A polystyrene is a form of material known by the trade name polystyrene foam. Polystyrene foam is a polymer that is made up of a long chain of molecules. Styrofoam is a type of polystyrene. Styrofoam is often used in the production of a wide variety of products, including food storage containers, roofs, walls, etc. Styrofoam is a blue substance that is durable, lightweight, and a poor conductor of heat. These characteristics are a result of their chemical composition.

Both acetone and styrofoam are examples of widely used materials that may be used in several contexts. Nevertheless, there are several essential distinctions between the two. In the first place, acetone is a liquid, while styrofoam is solid. Because of this, acetone may be simply poured into containers of varying shapes and sizes, while styrofoam has to be cut to the appropriate dimensions to fit properly. In addition, acetone is combustible, but styrofoam is not. This property makes acetone an excellent choice for use in cleaning applications that call for the use of solvents; nevertheless, it also means that more precautions must be taken to avoid starting fires. Last but not least, acetone evaporates fast while styrofoam does not. This indicates that acetone may be used for applications that are just transient and for which the material will not be required for a significant amount of time. When deciding between styrofoam and acetone for a project, it is essential to take into account the particular requirements that must be met.

Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Acetone Styrofoam
Definition It is a propanone and the smallest ketone, and it is an organic compound that has both of these properties. The blue board is a kind of expanded polystyrene that has been given its name.
Formula The chemical formula is (CH3)2CO. The chemical formula is C8H8.
Chemical properties It is colorless, and it evaporates into the air after dissolving in water. A rough, lightweight, pale blue substance that is a poor conductor of either heat or electricity.
Scope Acetone dissolves styrofoam. Styrofoam gets dissolved in acetone.
Purposes Used often for cleaning and as a solvent. Insulators in buildings and storage containers for food are two common applications.

What is Acetone?

The ketone with the smallest molecular structure is acetone, which has the chemical formula (CH3)2CO. Acetone is an organic molecule. The chemical characteristic of acetone is that it is colorless, volatile, and a solvent. It is a flammable solvent that can be readily dissolved in water, but it evaporates when exposed to air. In addition to their usage as a solvent, they are often put to use to clean in a variety of settings including labs, factories, and homes.

Another bodily mechanism known as metabolism is responsible for the creation of acetone in the human body. Methyl methacrylate may be made from it once it has been dissolved in water and put to use in the process. Acetone production is often increased in diabetic patients. [Cause and effect] Acetone is eliminated from the body in the form of urine as well as blood. This is another method of elimination.

Propanone is where Andreas Libavius discovered acetone in 1606. Acetone is classified as a propanone. It is used for a variety of uses across all areas of the economy in several countries throughout the globe due to its widespread adoption. In the past, acetone was used in residential settings for cleaning, in commercial settings it served as a solvent, and in agricultural settings, it was utilized, although seldom, to eliminate pests that prevented the healthy development of plants.

It was manufactured in great amounts in the United States, which also accounted for the majority of the countries that consumed it, including Taiwan, China, and others. Because of this, acetone is considered to be one of the significant organic compounds that are used all over the globe by various parts of the economy.

A ketone, acetone is an organic solvent that falls under the category of a ketone. It is a non-colored liquid that burns easily and finds its primary use in the making of plastics and other types of industrial products. In addition, acetone may be found in goods that are used in the home, such as nail polish remover and other personal care items. Because it contains carbon atoms, this substance is classified as an organic compound and has the formula (CH3)2CO in its chemistry.

It is also used in the production of paint, varnish, inks, lacquers, and adhesives in the capacity of a solvent. Although it evaporates quickly, acetone is a powerful solvent that may be used on plastic. The breakdown of fat in the liver results in the production of acetone and several other ketones as a byproduct. In addition to this, it is used in the manufacturing of medications, polymers, and resins in the capacity of a chemical intermediate. In addition to that, oil stains may be removed from the walls with it.

What is Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is an enlarged version of polystyrene, however, it was originally a trademark for the production of polyester foam consisting of a long chain of polymer molecules. Today, expanded polystyrene is referred to as Styrofoam. It is a rough, lightweight, light blue material; it is a poor conductor of heat; it can float on top of liquids, and it has several other chemical features. Hence, it does not become dissolved in water or liquids.

Because of the chemical feature that makes it weak at conducting heat, styrofoam is commonly utilized in the construction industry as an insulator. In addition to this, it is used in the production of utensils used in the preparation of meals, such as cups and plates. Styrofoam has a wide variety of applications, but one of its most useful features is that it may be used to protect the soil under a road from being disturbed by precipitation, such as rain or snow.

The Dow Chemical Company is responsible for the production of Styrofoam. It is an American multinational corporation that is recognized as one of the most important suppliers of chemicals, polymers, and other agricultural goods such as fertilizers, insecticides, and other similar items across the globe. The corporation is one of the top three biggest makers of chemicals in the whole wide globe. They are the only owners of the license as well as the brand mark for styrofoam.

Because of this, styrofoam is used in many regions of the globe for a variety of applications, and its utilization is in great demand across the board in the economic industry.

Styrofoam is a trademark name for a specific kind of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), which has a wide range of uses, including insulation and packaging, among other things. Styrofoam is produced by incorporating air into molten polystyrene during the manufacturing process, which results in a lightweight material with a structure that is analogous to honeycombs. Because the cells in Styrofoam are closed, the material acts as an effective insulator because it traps air. Styrofoam is resistant to moisture and does not readily break down, making it an appropriate material for applications involving food packaging and food service. Styrofoam may be recycled, however as it does not break down in nature, it must be disposed of appropriately.

Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam in Points

  • Oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon are the components that makeup acetone, while styrofoam is an enlarged version of polystyrene.
  • Styrofoam is used for producing food containers and reducing soil disturbance beneath the road in the event of rain or snow, while acetone is used for cleaning reasons and the synthesis of methyl methacrylate and is utilized extensively in both of these processes.
  • Since acetone is a suitable solvent for polystyrene, it is not difficult to dissolve Styrofoam in it. The process is similar to how sugar dissolves in water.
  • Styrofoam dissolves any chemical, however, it takes some time until the substance is no longer detectable in the environment after being exposed to styrofoam. acetone, on the other hand, evaporates substances into the air very rapidly.
  • Styrofoam, on the other hand, does not get dissolved in water since it is a compound that is formed of polystyrene and foam, while acetone does get mixed or dissolved in water.
  • It is far simpler to get rid of acetone than it is to get rid of styrofoam when it comes to the disposal of chemicals, given that the burning of styrofoam may be detrimental to the environment.
  • Burning Styrofoam to get rid of it is the least safe and most inefficient method to get rid of it, both for humans and the environment. Burning Styrofoam results in the production of poisonous compounds as well as smoke, both of which may be harmful to a person's nervous system and lungs, according to research.
  • Acetone is a solvent that quickly and easily degrades the polystyrene, freeing the tiny air pockets that were previously trapped within and leaving behind very little trace when the process is complete. To put it another way, the polystyrene may be broken down by acetone.


Both acetone and styrofoam are examples of organic chemicals that can dissolve or eliminate any given material. Because acetone is a particularly effective solvent for polystyrene, and because styrofoam is nothing more than an enlarged version of polystyrene, it may be dissolved in acetone. As a result, styrofoam dissolves in acetone the same way sugar dissolves in water.

While it takes styrofoam a few seconds to dissolve items, acetone may make any material vanish into thin air very instantly. Both acetone and styrofoam are used for a variety of applications across the board in the industrial, construction, and food packaging industries, including deodorizing, insulating, and cleaning applications, amongst others.

As a result, it is essential to have a good understanding of the chemical characteristics of these organic substances and to put those qualities to use in a variety of contexts.

Both acetone and Styrofoam are examples of materials that have regular use in a variety of contexts. However, because they each possess unique characteristics, some activities are more suitable for some of them than others. It is essential to have a solid understanding of the distinctions between these two types of materials to choose the one that is most suited to meet your requirements.



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"Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-acetone-and-styrofoam-626>.

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