Acetone vs Styrofoam – Difference and Comparison

What is Acetone?

Acetone is an organic compound. It is a part of the propane category and the smallest ketone. It is transparent, highly volatile, and inflammable. It is a very good solvent and dissolves in water very easily.

It was discovered by Andrew Libavius in the year 1606. Acetone is produced by the United States on a very large scale. As well as United States, China, Taiwan, etc. are the biggest consumers of acetone in the world.

Due to its high volatility, it is used in paints and varnishes. It also gets evaporated easily. In industries, acetone is also used as a solvent. It is also used to manufacture methyl methacrylate due to its small size and high volatility.

Acetone is also produced by the human body, during the process of metabolism. Bodies of diabetes patients produce more acetone than a normal human. And it is disposed of through the body with the help of urine and blood.

Sometimes, in rare cases, farmers also use acetone, as a pesticide in farms, to keep unwanted insects and pests away from the plants. But on a large scale, acetone is highly demanded in laboratories, households, and factories for cleaning purposes.

As we know, acetone is popular for disappearing things in seconds. Through its properties, it became an important element, in almost every sector of the economy. And acetone is very easy to dispose of and safe for the environment too.

What is Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is a long chain, polymer substance. It is also known as the blue board. Its chemical base is polystyrene. During the manufacturing process, polystyrene is exposed to 95% of air, which gives it a foamy and light texture but hard structure.

Styrofoam is manufactured by the Dow Chemical Company, an America-based MNC. This company is one of the largest producers of chemicals, plastic, and other products of the agriculture sector like fertilizers, pesticides, etc. It is one of the world’s top three largest chemical manufacturers in the world. They own the brand mark and license of Styrofoam.

Styrofoam is very popular for its hard but light texture, which makes it suitable for disposable crockery like cups, bowls, etc. Due to its poor heat conduction, it is also used for insulation of walls and roofs of the building.

Above all this, Styrofoam is used during the construction of roads, so that effect of soil disturbance under the road can be minimized. This is a very excellent way of using Styrofoam. It is also used in coolers.

Styrofoam does not dissolve in water or any other simple liquid, and due to its buoyancy, it floats over water. But the main problem with Styrofoam is its disposal. It’s not easy to dispose of Styrofoam. And on burning, it produces many harmful gases, which are not good for our environment and health.

Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam

  1. Both are organic compounds, but Acetone is a liquid compound, whereas Styrofoam is a solid compound.
  2. Acetone is used for cleaning purposes, whereas Styrofoam is used for the manufacturing of disposals, insulation purposes, etc.
  3. Acetone dissolves in water very easily, on the other hand, Styrofoam does not dissolve in water but floats over it.
  4. Acetone is the smallest ketone in the ketone family, where Styrofoam is made of long chains of polymer (i.e. polystyrene).
  5. Acetone is easily disposable and safe for the environment, on the other hand, Styrofoam is not easy to dispose of, and also is not safe for our environment.
  6. Burning acetone produces carbon dioxide and water, and in lack of oxygen, it can produce carbon monoxide, but nothing more than that.
  7. On the other hand, burning Styrofoam produces various harmful gases that are not safe for us.

Comparison Between Acetone and Styrofoam

Parameters of ComparisonAcetoneStyrofoam
DefinitionAcetone is an organic compound in the liquid state, also known as propanone.Styrofoam is polystyrene foam, made of long chains of polymers.
FormulaThe chemical formula of Acetone is (CH3)2CO.The chemical formula of Styrofoam is  C8H8.
Chemical PropertiesAcetone is highly flammable and volatile & miscible in water.Styrofoam is a light, rough, poor heat conductor, and blue in color.
UsesUsed as a solvent, used in paints and varnishes, and most popularly for cleaning purposes.Used as cushioning material for packaging, for making disposable crockery, and insulation of walls.
RelationAcetone can react with polystyrene bonds and dissolve Styrofoam.Styrofoam gets dissolved in Acetone.