Difference Between Acetone and Styrofoam (With Table)

Everyone has wondered in their life about how magic works. Magic is all about playing with science and mathematics. Now, even you can disappear anything by using acetone and styrofoam. They both are organic compounds used to disappear things and they vary in many parameters.

Acetone vs Styrofoam

The main difference between acetone and styrofoam is the time taken to disappear things. Acetone can disappear any things like magic within seconds while styrofoam takes a few seconds to dissolve substance depending on the components of the substance. This is because acetone is insolvent that can disappear styrofoam.

Acetone is a colorless organic compound and known as (CH3)2CO. It belongs to the propane category and is highly demanded in laboratories for cleaning purposes. Acetone easily dissolves in water and evaporates in the air faster as it is a flammable solvent. The chemical properties of acetone are colorless, volatile, and flammable liquid.

Styrofoam is a type of polystyrene and it is derived from a trade name polystyrene foam which is a polymer made by a long chain of molecules. Styrofoam is popularly used to make food containers, construct roofs, and walls, etc. The chemical properties of styrofoam are that they are hard, lightweight, blue compound, and a poor conductor of heat.

Comparison Table Between Acetone and Styrofoam

Parameters of Comparison




It is an organic compound that is a propanone and the smallest ketone.

It is an expanded form of polystyrene known as the blue board.


The chemical formula is (CH3)2CO.

The chemical formula is C8H8.

Chemical properties

Colorless, dissolves in water, and evaporates in air.

Rough, lightweight, light blue compound and poor conductor or heat.


Acetone dissolves styrofoam.

Styrofoam gets dissolved in acetone.


Commonly used as a solvent and cleaning purposes.

Commonly used as building insulators and food containers.

What is Acetone?

Acetone is an organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2CO and it is the smallest ketone. Acetone has chemical properties like colorless, volatile, and solvent. It easily dissolves in the water and evaporates in the air being a flammable solvent. They are widely used as a solvent and also for cleaning purposes in households, industries, and laboratories.

The process of production of acetone is in the human body through another process called metabolism. As it gets dissolved in water, it is used in the production of methyl methacrylate. People with diabetics usually produce a larger amount of acetone. Acetone is also disposed of through the human body in the form of urine and blood.

Acetone was found by Andreas Libavius in 1606 and belongs to the category of propanone. It is widely used all over the world for different purposes by all the sectors of the economy. Households used acetone for cleaning purposes, industries used acetone as a solvent and in agriculture, it is rarely used to kill unwanted insects spoiling the growth of the plants.

It was produced largely by the United States and also consumed in higher quantities by the US, Taiwan, and also China, etc. Hence, acetone served as one of the important organic compounds which are used worldwide by all the sectors of the economy.

What is Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is an expanded form of polystyrene and it was initially a trademark used to manufacture polyester foam made of a long chain of polymer molecules. It has chemical properties like rough, lightweight, light blue substance, a poor conductor of heat, and have the ability to float on top of liquids, etc. Hence, it does not get dissolved in water or liquids.

Styrofoam is widely used as a building insulator as it has the chemical property of being poor of heat. In addition to this, it is also used in the manufacture of food containers like cups and plates. One of the outstanding uses of styrofoam is that it can be used to prevent soil disturbance under the road caused due to rain or snow.

Styrofoam is manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company. It is an American multinational company and one of the world’s leading producers of chemicals, plastics, and other agricultural products like fertilizers, pesticides, etc. The company is among the top three largest chemical manufacturers in the world. They own the license and brand mark of styrofoam.

Hence, styrofoam is used in many parts of the world for various purposes and is highly demanded by all sectors of the economy.

Main Differences Between Acetone and Styrofoam

  1. The elements of acetone are oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon while styrofoam is an expanded form of polystyrene.
  2. Acetone is widely used for cleaning purposes and production of methyl methacrylate while styrofoam is used for manufacturing food containers and preventing soil disturbance under the road in cases of rain and snow.
  3. Styrofoam easily dissolves in acetone like the sugar in the water as it is a good solvent for polystyrene.
  4. Acetone disappears any substance into the air quickly while styrofoam dissolves any substance and requires some time for the substance to completely disappear.
  5. Acetone gets mixed or dissolved in water while styrofoam does not get dissolved in water as it is a compound made of polystyrene and foam.
  6. In terms of disposal of chemicals, it is easier to dispose of acetone than styrofoam as burning styrofoam can be harmful to the environment.


Both acetone and styrofoam are organic compounds that dissolve or disappear any substance. Styrofoam gets dissolved in acetone as acetone is highly solvent to the polystyrene and styrofoam is purely an expanded form of polystyrene. Hence, styrofoam gets dissolves in acetone like sugar in water.

Acetone can disappear any substance into the air immediately while styrofoam takes a few seconds to dissolve substances. Both acetone and styrofoam are used for various purposes in all the sectors of the economy like cleaning purposes, building isolation, and manufacturing food containers, etc.

Hence, it is important to understand the chemical properties of these organic compounds and use them for various purposes accordingly.


  1. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/93JD00764
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-013-2153-4