“Acetone versus polystyrene foam” experiment

A huge bar of polystyrene foam dissolves in a few milliliters of acetone

Did you know that poly­styrene foam dis­solves in ace­tone?! Here’s a sim­ple ex­per­i­ment which you can amaze your friends with.

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Wear pro­tec­tive glass­es and gloves. The ex­per­i­ment should be con­duct­ed in a well-ven­ti­lat­ed room.

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • ace­tone 10 ml;
  • poly­styrene foam;
  • Petri dish.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Pour ace­tone into a Petri dish. Slow­ly low­er a large piece of poly­styrene foam into it. The poly­styrene foam dis­ap­pears be­fore your eyes.

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

Ace­tone is a good sol­vent. Poly­styrene foam con­sists of foamy poly­styrene, a ma­te­ri­al which par­tial­ly dis­solves in ace­tone and los­es its struc­ture. The air con­tained in the poly­styrene foam is re­leased, and its vol­ume de­creas­es dras­ti­cal­ly. All that is left is a thick and sticky mass of ace­tone and large poly­styrene mol­e­cules.