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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 8 Issue 5 (2003) pp 309-311

The Pyrolysis of Polystyrene

James H. Cooley and Richard Vaughan Williams*

Department of Chemistry, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2343,
Received April 1, 2003. Accepted July 4, 2003.

Published online: 30 August 2003

Abstract. An experiment suitable for the first semester of a two-semester organic chemistry laboratory sequence is described. This experiment is carried out in the problem-solving mode. Students are instructed to pyrolyze polystyrene and to gather sufficient data for the unequivocal identification of their pyrolysis product.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; organic chemistry; inquiry-based/discovery method; polymer chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (150 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:


Supporting Materials:

IR and NMR spectra of styrene are available in a Zip file (26 KB). 10.1333/s00897030720a

Issue date: October 1, 2003

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