Macro Shots of Styrofoam / Acetone Reaction

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Macro Shots of Styrofoam / Acetone Reaction

Post by fisheyeadventures »

Hey everyone,
this week I was experimenting with acid / acetone and styrofoam. The reaction is very fast and looks really amazing. I created a short macro video celebrating 3.000 subs on my macro-photography-youtube channel:) (If you want to try this at home: go outside, acetone is extremely harmful to health)

Chris S.
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Re: Macro Shots of Styrofoam / Acetone Reaction

Post by Chris S. »

. . . acetone is extremely harmful to health
Not really! :D The effects of acetone exposure are generally benign and temporary. In fact, our bodies produce moderate amounts of acetone, and acetone is usually present in our blood and urine, causing us no significant problems. But acetone is flammable, so taking it outside isn't a bad idea. This said, acetone is difficult to ignite, so using it indoors isn't that dangerous, given modest precautions. I find acetone a very useful solvent, and use it frequently. I don't bother with gloves, but do turn off the furnace if I'm working near it with acetone in the winter.

And while acetone is technically an acid, it is a very weak acid--a weaker acid than water.

The word "reaction" might make some people think that what you've documented is a chemical reaction; rather, it is a physical one. Polystyrene foam is about 2% polystyrene and 98% air. When you put the foam in acetone, the polystyrene dissolves into the acetone and the air escapes. This physical reaction is approximately as benign as dissolving sugar in water.

Sorry for being pedantic. ;)

--Chris S.

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