Bakelite Fact Sheet

383 Words2 Pages
What is it? Around 1907, Belgian-born chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland took two ordinary chemicals, phenol and formaldehyde, mixed them in a sealed autoclave, and subjected them to heat and pressure. The sticky, amber-colored resin he produced in his Yonkers laboratory was the first plastic ever to be created entirely from chemicals, and the first material to be made entirely by man. Dr. Baekeland's new material - he called it Bakelite - opened the door to the Age of Plastics and seeded the growth of a worldwide industry that today employs more than 60 million people. Today, synthetic plastics are everywhere. They are just as familiar to us as wood or metal, and as easily taken for granted. Properties/Uses: Bakelite can be molded - and in this regard was better than celluloid and also less expensive to make. Moreover, it could be molded very quickly - an enormous advantage in mass production processes where many identical units were produced one after the other. Bakelite is a thermosetting resin - that is, once molded, it retains its shape even if heated or subjected to various solvents. Bakelite was also particularly suitable for the emerging electrical and automobile industries because of its extraordinarily high resistance - not only to electricity, but to heat and chemical action. It was soon used for all non conducting parts of radios and other electrical devices, such as bases and sockets for light bulbs and electron tubes, supports for any type of electrical components, automobile distributor caps, and other insulators. Along with its electrical uses, molded Bakelite found a place in almost every area of modern life. From novelty jewelry to iron handles to telephones to washing-machines impellers, Bakelite was seen everywhere and was a constant presence in the technological infrastructure. The Bakelite Corporation adopted as its logo the mathematical

More about Bakelite Fact Sheet

Open Document