When September arrives I start thinking about Friday Night Lights and tailgate gatherings. What better way to keep your food fresh then with a foam cooler. Some coolers are made out of plastic polystyrene which has a low thermal conductivity. This means that it is a poor conductor of heat and will protect food from spoiling during your function. Of course you will need ice packs to keep the “chill zone” for your food and beverages but the polystyrene cooler will be the work horse.
What is Polystyrene?
Polystyrene can be custom manufactured in a large variety of shapes and sizes. It is a closed cell foam that can be used as a building material, for florists , arts and crafts, road construction, packaging and food storage. Styrene is made from natural gas and when it reacts with benzene and ethylene it is produced. It then goes through a polymerization process that uses a mechanical agitation to mix it up. The result is beads of polystyrene that are then cleaned and processed again adding heat. The rise in temperature causes the beads to attract to each other forming chains of polystyrene. The chains are cooled, rinsed again and dried. A spa day for polystyrene! The next step is to expand the beads with steam. They expand and once again are cooled. To form into shapes, the material gets put into a mold. A low pressure steam is injected that now makes them expand into their final shape.
The Polystyrene Cooler –
As a cooler, polystyrene works quite well for the short term. It is inexpensive, light and can be found at many retail stores. Recently, the polystyrene cooler saved me when I stopped at one of my favorite haunts an hour from home on a warm day. I purchased some of my favorite perishable foods because I couldn’t help myself, even knowing that I had an hour plus ride back to my home. Luckily, the store sold polystyrene coolers right at the cash register! They gave me a bag of ice, I packed my food in the cooler and made it back with gourmand treats for all. So, pack up those coolers and head to the game! Re-use them or use them for storage when you are done.
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