Disappearing Styrofoam

Things Needed:
  1. Styrofoam (Thermocol) cup
  2. Acetone
  3. A glass container
  1. Place the glass container on a table. Pour a small amount of acetone in it such that it forms a thin layer at the bottom.
  2. Carefully place the Styrofoam cup in the centre of the container. Make sure that the experiment is conducted in a well-lit and well-ventilated area.
  3. Observe what happens to the cup.
How does it work?
The cup begins to disappear when it comes in contact with the acetone in the glass container.
Styrofoam or thermocol is made of a material called ‘polystyrene’, a polymer which is made up of a long chain of molecules. Styrofoam loses its structure when it dissolves in acetone. This reaction releases the air from the foam, causing the polystyrene’s volume to shrink radically.