I’m interested to hear any new information on the processing of styrofoam after falling across an old article from back in 2012.
So has there been any updates in the 6 years since it was put out?
Hi! I have a couple of ideas which I’ve not yet had time to try out. Not sure if these are the kind of suggestions you’re looking for:
My ideas involve shredding the styrofoam back into little bits.. I’m sure no expensive shredder is required – I’m thinking of doing small-scale experiments with a kitchen liquidiser (used dry). If that works, than a larger macerator with fast spinning blades should not be that hard to construct.
After grading/sieving I believe the small crumbs could have many commercial uses.
One idea is to tumble-mix them with water-based glue (diluted wood glue or wallpaper paste). Then the crumbs can be pressed into moulds to be used again for packaging, or pressed flat into big sheets.
If the chips were mixed with cement instead, then relatively fast-setting thermal insulation boards could be made, or large lego-style bricks that assemble into walls quickly.
And my last suggestion… If the chips were pressed into a mould, and then heated slowly to reach an even temperature, would they not melt slightly and fuse together by themselves? From styrofoam furniture to kayaks, the potential range of uses are almost limitless!
Fair ideas all around.
I would suggest ball milling rather than a kitchen blender though. You can get much finer particulate that way than you can hope to with a blender or such.
Melting polystyrene gets a bit trickier as it has to be done in an inert atmosphere (very shaky memory on that, so you should fact check). As such it doesn’t recycle easily. If it could be processed back into the precursor, which doubles as an ok solvent, it would reduce the stuff as a problem.
I also have to wonder how stable the stuff would be after getting powdered. Could it be used in clay heavy soil to help loosen it?
Anyway, I’ve had a long day and I’m rambling a bit. Try your ideas, take notes and pictures and share with us.
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