Half a Century of Polystyrene—A Survey of the Chemistry and Physics of a Pioneering Material



Hermann Staudinger, the founder of polymer chemistry, would have been 100 years old this year. One of the key materials with which he elucidated the structure of high polymers was polystyrene.—Polystyrene, one of the most important thermoplastics, has now been manufactured industrially for some 50 years. Not only has it simplified our daily lives in a variety of ways, it has also been a model substance for the development and expansion of polymer chemistry and polymer physics, and it was the pioneering material for handling polymer solutions and melts. This article surveys the development and present state of knowledge of the polymerization of styrene and of the relationships between structure and properties.