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Styrofoam is a trademark of Dow Chemical Company for presently made for thermal insulation and craft applications..

In 1941, researchers in Dow's Chemical Physics Lab found a way to make foamed polystyrene. Led by Ray McIntire, they had "rediscovered" a method first discovered by Swedish inventor Carl Georg Munters.Dow acquired exclusive rights to use Munter's patents and found ways to make large quantities of extruded polystyrene as a closed cell foam that resists moisture. Because of its insulating properties and buoyancy, it was adopted in 1942 by the U.S. Coast Guard for use in a six-person life raft. Styrofoam can be used for building materials, including insulated sheathing, pipe insulation and floral and craft products. Styrofoam insulation has been used in many notable buildings and facilities in North America. The Dow insulation product can be identified by its distinctive blue color; Styrofoam for craft applications is available in white and green.

Styrofoam can be used under roads and other structures to prevent soil disturbances due to freezing and thawing.

In the United States, the word styrofoam is often used as a generic term for expanded polystyrene foam, such as disposable coffee cups, coolers or cushioning material in packaging, which are typically white and are made of expanded polystyrene beads. This is different from the extruded polystyrene used for Styrofoam insulation. The polystyrene foam used for craft applications, which can be identified by its roughness and by the fact that it "crunches" when cut, is moderately soluble in many organic solvents, cyanoacrylate and the propellants and solvents of spray paint, is not specifically identified as expanded or extruded.

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