Styrofoam is a trademark for polystyrene
thermal insulation, a material manufactured by Dow Chemical Company.
In 1941, researchers in Dow's Chemical Physics Lab found a way to make foamed polystyrene. Led by
Ray McIntire, they had "rediscovered" a method first discovered by Swedish inventor C. G. Munters. [cite book
last = Boundy
first = Ray H.
coauthors =J. Lawrence Amos
title = A History of the Dow Chemical Physics Lab
publisher = Marcel Dekker, Inc.
date = 1990
location = New York
pages = 117-128
isbn = 0-8247-8097-3] Dow acquired exclusive rights to use Munter's patents and found ways to make large quantities of extruded polystyrene as a closed cell
foamthat resisted moisture. Because of its insulating properties, buoyancy and "unsinkability", it was adopted in 1942 by the U.S. Coast Guardfor use in a six-person life raft. Styrofoam can be used for building materials, including insulated sheathing, pipe insulation and floral and craft products. Styrofoam insulation has been used in many notable buildings and facilities in North America. [cite web|url=http://building.dow.com/styrofoam/na/pro-us/information/fame.htm|title=Styrofoam "Walls of Fame"|accessdate=2008-04-01] The Dow product can be identified by its distinctive blue color.
Styrofoam can be used under roads and other structures to prevent soil disturbances due to freezing and thawing. [cite web|url=http://www.alaskool.org/resources/regional/nw_reg_pro/permafrost.html|title=Engineering considerations when building on permafrost|accessdate=2007-08-30]
The word "styrofoam" is often used as a generic term for expanded
polystyrenefoam, such as disposable coffee cups, coolers or packaging material, which are typically white and are made of expanded polystyrene beads and are very different from Styrofoam.
List of generic and genericized trademarks
Structural insulated panel
Resin identification code
National Inventors Hall of Fame
* [http://building.dow.com/styrofoam/what.htm Dow Chemical Company Styrofoam page]
* [http://www.cawrecycles.org/issues/polystyrene_main Californians Against Waste article on Expanded Polystyrene]
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