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High impact polystyrene (HIPS)

High impact polystyrene (HIPS)

Pure polystyrene is brittle, but hard enough that a fairly high-performance product can be made by giving it some of the properties of a stretchier material, such as polybutadiene rubber. The two such materials can never normally be mixed because of the amplified effect of intermolecular forces on polymer insolubility, but if polybutadiene is added during polymerization it can become chemically bonded to the polystyrene, forming a graft copolymer which helps to incorporate normal polybutadiene into the final mix, resulting in high-impact polystyrene or HIPS, often called "high-impact plastic" in advertisements. Common applications of HIPS include toys and product casings. HIPS are usually injection molded in production. Autoclaving polystyrene can compress and harden the material.


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