Introduction: Acetone and Styrofoam!

Hi guys! I hope you enjoy this science experiment.

You need:
-Acetone
-Styrofoam
-A metal or glass container

Safety advisory:

Acetone fumes are flammable. Only do this in a well-ventialted area. Always wear safety glasses, and wash your hands well after handling acetone.

Have fun!

Comments

author
rimar2000 (author)2014-01-25

Gasoline melts styrofoam, too.

author

True. I just went with acetone since it's more readily available.

author

WOW, here in Argentina it is on the contrary. Acetone is named "drug precursor" and then its market is controlled. You must declare the use you will make of it when buying.

By the way, the solution styrofoam-gasoline does not serve as adhesive. What is the case with styrofoam-acetone?

author
MagicTK (author)rimar20002014-09-24

I used to make a mixture that was nice and gooey, and I could spread it on things to repair them. One great example was I used it to repair cracked speaker cones. It also worked on some of the speakers' surround, but typically had better result if it was a cloth mesh type surround rather than a foam type or a rubber type. After spreading it on a speaker cone crack, just let it dry, and it was quite stiff, but still light weight.

Later, I had a bunch of it mixed up and forgot about it. A week or so later, I remembered. All that was left was this amazingly hard semi-transparent circular block about 5/8" thick. I never had a reason to keep it, but I still have it.

I did notice that some types of foam didn't melt as well as others.

author
rimar2000 (author)MagicTK2014-09-25

Thanks for the info, MagicTK

author

That's interesting. Here in the U.S., I got acetone from my local Walmart for 6 dollars over the counter. Why is it so hard to get in Argentina?

kymyst told me that a styrofoam-acetone soluion works as a cement for PVC. I'll have to try it sometime, because that actually sounds useful. :)

author
kminnie (author)2014-01-24

And you have made napalm!

author
Chikpeas Brother (author)kminnie2014-01-24

Effectively, yes. I believe napalm is made with gasoline though.

author

Well technically speaking anything that is a gelled Incendiary... The first Naplam was Actually made up of Naphthenic Acid and Palmitate, hence it's name. But more commonly now napalm is made with petroluem products like Gasoline...

Good instructable BTW!

author

Oh, that makes sense. Do you know what mechanism a flamethrower emplys to propel it?

Thank you!

author
liquidhandwash (author)2014-01-25

you should try biodiesel and styrofoam, it completely disappears.

author

Neat! Where can I get biodiesel? Is there a video showing the process?

author

I dont know if you can buy bio where you are, you may have to make it

have a look at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC9h78b2RM4

or google "making biodiesel"

author

Okay, thanks.

author
jabrams piechota (author)2014-01-24

Gee, that looks super for the environment.

author

The acetone evaporates and the styrofoam mixture can be burned away. No harm done. :)

author
offramp (author)2014-01-24

I seem to recall reading, many years ago, about a doctor who did something similar with discarded pudding cups and either acetone or tolulene (can't remember which)... he used this mixture to cast prosthetic limbs and was using this method to bring prosthetics to third-world countries.

author
Chikpeas Brother (author)offramp2014-01-25

Cool! Thank you for commenting.

author
kymyst (author)offramp2014-01-25

Either acetone or toluene will dissolve styrofoam, but acetone is non-toxic. Gasoline will also work.

author
kymyst (author)2014-01-24

This mixture can be used as a cement for plastic items ( ABS, polystyrene and PVC ) if it is made thick enough. One small correction, acetone is not classified as a toxic chemical, but it is still a good idea to avoid inhaling the vapour.

author
Chikpeas Brother (author)kymyst2014-01-24

That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

I was under the impression that acetone fumes were considered slightly toxic. Is this incorrect?

author
kymyst (author)Chikpeas Brother2014-01-25

Acetone vapours are mildly irritating to the respiratory tract and may cause headaches on prolonged exposure, but they are not toxic in the accepted industrial hygiene sense of being acutely poisonous. The occupational short term exposure limit for acetone vapour is 1000 parts per million, which is quite a high vapour concentration. Substances with toxic vapours typically have exposure limits of less than 5 ppm.

author
Chikpeas Brother (author)kymyst2014-01-25

I see. Thanks for letting me know!

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Bio: I'm a musician, maker, wannabe YouTuber, introvert, and above all a crazy cat guy.
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