Bakelite
Overview
 
Bakelite or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is an early plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

. It is a thermosetting
Thermosetting plastic
A thermosetting plastic, also known as a thermoset, is polymer material that irreversibly cures. The cure may be done through heat , through a chemical reaction , or irradiation such as electron beam processing.Thermoset materials are usually liquid or malleable prior to curing and designed to be...

 phenol formaldehyde resin
Phenol formaldehyde resin
Phenol formaldehyde resins include synthetic thermosetting resins such as obtained by the reaction of phenols with formaldehyde. Sometimes the precursors include other aldehydes or other phenol. Phenolic resins are mainly used in the production of circuit boards...

, formed from an elimination reaction
Elimination reaction
An elimination reaction is a type of organic reaction in which two substituents are removed from a molecule in either a one or two-step mechanism...

 of phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

 with formaldehyde
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, hence its systematic name methanal.Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers...

, usually with a wood flour
Wood flour
Wood flour is finely pulverized wood that has a consistency fairly equal to sand or sawdust, but can vary considerably, with particles ranging in size from a fine powder to roughly the size of a grain of rice. Most wood flour manufacturers are able to create batches of wood flour that have the...

 filler
Filler
In general, a filler is something that is used to fill gaps. Specialized meanings of the word "filler" include:* Filler , dietary fiber and other ingredients added to pet foods to provide bulk...

. It was developed in 1907 by Belgian
Demographics of Belgium
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Belgium, including ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population...

 chemist Leo Baekeland
Leo Baekeland
Leo Hendrik Baekeland was a Belgian chemist who invented Velox photographic paper and Bakelite , an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plastic, which marks the beginning of the modern plastics industry.-Career:Leo Baekeland was born in Sint-Martens-Latem near Ghent, Belgium,...

.

One of the first plastics made from synthetic components (although phenol can be extracted from biological sources), Bakelite was used for its electrically nonconductive and heat-resistant properties in radio and telephone casings and electrical insulators, and also in such diverse products as kitchenware
Kitchenware
Kitchenware include utensils, appliances, dishes, cookware, and so on for use in the kitchen.-See also:*Cookware and bakeware*Dishware*Drinkware*List of eating utensils*List of food preparation utensils*List of Japanese cooking utensils...

, jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, pipe stems, and children's toy
Toy
A toy is any object that can be used for play. Toys are associated commonly with children and pets. Playing with toys is often thought to be an enjoyable means of training the young for life in human society. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable and cuddly to both young and old...

s.
Encyclopedia
Bakelite or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is an early plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

. It is a thermosetting
Thermosetting plastic
A thermosetting plastic, also known as a thermoset, is polymer material that irreversibly cures. The cure may be done through heat , through a chemical reaction , or irradiation such as electron beam processing.Thermoset materials are usually liquid or malleable prior to curing and designed to be...

 phenol formaldehyde resin
Phenol formaldehyde resin
Phenol formaldehyde resins include synthetic thermosetting resins such as obtained by the reaction of phenols with formaldehyde. Sometimes the precursors include other aldehydes or other phenol. Phenolic resins are mainly used in the production of circuit boards...

, formed from an elimination reaction
Elimination reaction
An elimination reaction is a type of organic reaction in which two substituents are removed from a molecule in either a one or two-step mechanism...

 of phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

 with formaldehyde
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, hence its systematic name methanal.Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers...

, usually with a wood flour
Wood flour
Wood flour is finely pulverized wood that has a consistency fairly equal to sand or sawdust, but can vary considerably, with particles ranging in size from a fine powder to roughly the size of a grain of rice. Most wood flour manufacturers are able to create batches of wood flour that have the...

 filler
Filler
In general, a filler is something that is used to fill gaps. Specialized meanings of the word "filler" include:* Filler , dietary fiber and other ingredients added to pet foods to provide bulk...

. It was developed in 1907 by Belgian
Demographics of Belgium
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Belgium, including ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population...

 chemist Leo Baekeland
Leo Baekeland
Leo Hendrik Baekeland was a Belgian chemist who invented Velox photographic paper and Bakelite , an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plastic, which marks the beginning of the modern plastics industry.-Career:Leo Baekeland was born in Sint-Martens-Latem near Ghent, Belgium,...

.

One of the first plastics made from synthetic components (although phenol can be extracted from biological sources), Bakelite was used for its electrically nonconductive and heat-resistant properties in radio and telephone casings and electrical insulators, and also in such diverse products as kitchenware
Kitchenware
Kitchenware include utensils, appliances, dishes, cookware, and so on for use in the kitchen.-See also:*Cookware and bakeware*Dishware*Drinkware*List of eating utensils*List of food preparation utensils*List of Japanese cooking utensils...

, jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, pipe stems, and children's toy
Toy
A toy is any object that can be used for play. Toys are associated commonly with children and pets. Playing with toys is often thought to be an enjoyable means of training the young for life in human society. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable and cuddly to both young and old...

s. In 1993 Bakelite was designated a National Historical Chemical Landmark
ACS National Historical Chemical Landmarks
The National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program was launched by the American Chemical Society in 1992 and has recognized more than 60 landmarks to date. The program celebrates the centrality of chemistry...

 by the American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has more than 161,000 members at all degree-levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical...

 in recognition of its significance as the world's first synthetic plastic.

The "retro
Retro
Retro is a culturally outdated or aged style, trend, mode, or fashion, from the overall postmodern past, that has since that time become functionally or superficially the norm once again. The use of "retro" style iconography and imagery interjected into post-modern art, advertising, mass media, etc...

" appeal of old Bakelite products and labor intensive manufacturing has made them quite collectible in recent years. Bakelite and Bakelit are registered trademarks of Momentive Specialty Chemicals GmbH.

History

Dr. Baekeland had originally set out to find a replacement for shellac
Shellac
Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes , which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish...

 (made from the excretion of lac beetles). Chemists had begun to recognize that many natural resins and fibres were polymers, and Baekeland investigated the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde. He first produced a soluble phenol-formaldehyde shellac called "Novolak" that never became a market success, then turned to developing a binder for asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 which, at that time, was moulded with rubber. By controlling the pressure and temperature applied to phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

 and formaldehyde
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, hence its systematic name methanal.Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers...

, he found in 1905 he could produce his dreamed-of hard mouldable material (the world's first synthetic plastic): bakelite.
He announced his invention at a meeting of the American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has more than 161,000 members at all degree-levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical...

 on February 5, 1909.

The Bakelite Corporation was formed in 1922 (after patent litigation favorable to Baekeland) from a merger of three companies: the General Bakelite Company, which Baekeland had founded in 1910, the Condensite Company founded by J.W. Aylesworth, and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company founded by L.V. Redman.

Bakelite Limited was formed in 1926 from the amalgamation of three suppliers of phenol formaldehyde materials: the Damard Lacquer Company Limited of Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

; Mouldensite Limited of Darley Dale and Redmanol Chemical Products Company of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Around 1928 a new factory opened in Tyseley
Tyseley
Tyseley is a district in the southern half of the city of Birmingham, England, near the Coventry Road and the districts of Small Heath and Yardley...

, Birmingham, England (subsequently demolished in 1998). In 1939 the company was acquired by the Union Carbide and Carbon Corp
Union Carbide
Union Carbide Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. It currently employs more than 2,400 people. Union Carbide primarily produces chemicals and polymers that undergo one or more further conversions by customers before reaching consumers. Some are high-volume...

oration.

Properties

Phenolics are seldom used in general consumer products today due to the cost and complexity of production and their brittle nature. An exception to this overall decline is their use in small precision-shaped components where their specific properties are required, such as molded disc brake cylinders, saucepan handles, electrical plugs and switches and parts for electrical irons. Today, Bakelite is manufactured and produced in sheet, rod and tube form for hundreds of industrial applications in the electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

, power generation and aerospace
Aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

 industries, and under a variety of commercial brand names, including Garolite.

Phenolic sheet is a hard, dense material made by applying heat and pressure to layers of paper or glass cloth impregnated with synthetic resin. These layers of laminations are usually of cellulose paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 fabrics, synthetic yarn
Synthetic fiber
Synthetic fibers are the result of extensive research by scientists to improve on naturally occurring animal and plant fibers. In general, synthetic fibers are created by forcing, usually through extrusion, fiber forming materials through holes into the air, forming a thread...

 fabrics, glass fabrics or unwoven fabrics. When heat and pressure are applied to the layers, a chemical reaction (polymerization
Polymerization
In polymer chemistry, polymerization is a process of reacting monomer molecules together in a chemical reaction to form three-dimensional networks or polymer chains...

) transforms the layers into a high-pressure thermosetting
Thermosetting plastic
A thermosetting plastic, also known as a thermoset, is polymer material that irreversibly cures. The cure may be done through heat , through a chemical reaction , or irradiation such as electron beam processing.Thermoset materials are usually liquid or malleable prior to curing and designed to be...

 industrial laminated plastic. When rubbed, original Bakelite has a telltale odor.

Bakelite Phenolic sheet is produced in dozens of commercial grades and with various additives to meet diverse mechanical, electrical and thermal requirements. Some common types include:
  • Paper reinforced NEMA XX per MIL-I-24768 PBG Normal electrical applications, moderate mechanical strength, continuous operating temperature
    Operating temperature
    An operating temperature is the temperature at which an electrical or mechanical device operates. The device will operate effectively within a specified temperature range which varies based on the device function and application context, and ranges from the minimum operating temperature to the...

     of 250°F.
  • Canvas reinforced NEMA C per MIL-I-24768 TYPE FBM NEMA CE per MIL-I-24768 TYPE FBG Good mechanical and impact strength with continuous operating temperature of 250°F.
  • Linen reinforced NEMA L per MIL-I-24768 TYPE FBI NEMA LE per MIL-I-24768 TYPE FEI Good mechanical and electrical strength. Recommended for intricate high strength parts. Continuous operating temperature 250°F.
  • Nylon reinforced NEMA N-1 per MIL-I-24768 TYPE NPG Superior electrical properties under humid conditions, fungus resistant, continuous operating temperature of 160°F.


NEMA refers to the US National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and cooperate with IEC
IEC
-Organisations:* Independent Electoral Commission * Independent Electrical Contractors, a U.S. national trade association.* Institut d'Estudis Catalans , a Catalan academic institution....

.

Applications and usage

In its industrial applications, Bakelite was 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 nonconducting 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. The foremost usage of Bakelite today is in the industrial sector for insulation of wires, construction of brake pads and related automotive components as well as industrial electrical related applications.

In the early 20th Century, it was found in myriad applications including saxophone
Saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

 mouthpieces, whistle
Whistle
A whistle or call is a simple aerophone, an instrument which produces sound from a stream of forced air. It may be mouth-operated, or powered by air pressure, steam, or other means...

s, cameras
Brownie (camera)
Brownie is the name of a long-running and extremely popular series of simple and inexpensive cameras made by Eastman Kodak. The Brownie popularized low-cost photography and introduced the concept of the snapshot. The first Brownie, introduced in February, 1900, was a very basic cardboard box camera...

, solid-body electric guitars
Rickenbacker
Rickenbacker International Corporation, also known as Rickenbacker, is an electric and bass guitar manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California...

, telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

 housings and handsets, early machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s, and appliance casings. The thermosetting phenolic resin was at one point considered for the manufacture of coins, due to a shortage of traditional manufacturing material. In 1943, Bakelite and other non-metal materials were tested for usage as a penny
Cent (United States coin)
The United States one-cent coin, commonly known as a penny, is a unit of currency equaling one one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is ¢. Its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 to 2008, the reverse...

 in the United States before the Mint
United States Mint
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

 settled on zinc coated steel
1943 steel cent
The 1943 steel cent, also known as a steelie, was a variety of the U.S. one-cent coin which was struck in steel due to wartime shortages of copper. It was designed by Victor D...

.

After WWII, factories were retrofitted to produce Bakelite using a more efficient extrusion process which increased production and enabled the uses of Bakelite to extend into other genres. Jewelry boxes; desk sets; clocks; radios; game pieces like chessmen, poker chips, billiard balls and Mah Jong sets; kitchenware such as canisters and tableware were also made of Bakelite through the 1950s. Beads, bangles and earrings were produced by the Catalin Company which introduced 15 new colors in 1927. The Catalin Company was attributed to have created marbled Bakelite. Translucent Bakelite jewelry, poker chips and other gaming items such as chess sets were also introduced in the 1940s under the Prystal Corporation name; however, its basic chemical composition remained the same.

The primary commercial uses for Bakelite today remain in the area of inexpensive board and tabletop games produced in China, India and Hong Kong. Items such as billiard ball
Billiard ball
A billiard ball is a small, hard ball used in cue sports, such as carom billiards, pool, and snooker. The number, type, diameter, color, and pattern of the balls differ depending upon the specific game being played...

s, dominoes and pieces for games like chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, checkers, and backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

 are constructed of Bakelite for its look, durability, fine polish, weight, and sound. Common dice are sometimes made of Bakelite for weight and sound, but the majority are made of a thermoplastic such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a common thermoplastic. Its melting point is approximately 105 °C ....

 (ABS) which is not as durable as Bakelite.

Bakelite is used to make the presentation boxes of Breitling
Breitling
Breitling is a luxury brand of Swiss watches produced by Breitling SA, a private company headquartered in Grenchen, Canton of Solothurn . The company exclusively offered Certified Chronometers in all models since 2000...

 watches and sometimes as a substitute for metal firearm magazines. Bakelite is also used in the mounting of metal samples in metallography
Metallography
Metallography is the study of the physical structure and components of metals, typically using microscopy.Ceramic and polymeric materials may also be prepared using metallographic techniques, hence the terms ceramography, plastography and, collectively, materialography.-Preparing metallographic...

.

Phenolic resins have been commonly used in ablative heat shields. Soviet heatshields for ICBM warheads and spacecraft reentry consisted of asbestos textolite impregnated with Bakelite.

Patents

In July 1907, Baekeland filed US patent #942,699: Method of making insoluble products of phenol and formaldehyde, patented on December 7, 1909.
His method of producing a hard, compact, insoluble and infusable condensation product of phenols and formaldehyde, marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry.

See also

  • Ansco Panda
    Ansco panda
    The Ansco Panda was a simple child's box camera made by the Ansco camera corporation of Binghamton, New York in the 1950s. Its appearance is quite similar to the Kodak Baby Brownie and was designed to compete directly with it. The camera features a black plastic body with cream accents around the...

     – children's Bakelite box camera
  • Bayko
    Bayko
    Bayko was an English building model construction toy invented by Charles Plimpton, an early plastics engineer and entrepreneur in Liverpool. First marketed in Britain it was soon exported throughout the British Commonwealth and became a world wide brand between 1934 and 1967...

     – A construction set toy in which most of the parts were made of Bakelite
  • Catalin
    Catalin
    Catalin is a brand name for a thermosetting polymer popular in the 1930s. Developed when the American Catalin Corporation took over the patents for Bakelite in 1927, Catalin is a cast phenolic, which can be worked with files, grinders and cutters and polishes to a fine sheen. Chemically, it is a...

     - brand name for a thermosetting polymer
  • Celluloid
    Celluloid
    Celluloid is the name of a class of compounds created from nitrocellulose and camphor, plus dyes and other agents. Generally regarded to be the first thermoplastic, it was first created as Parkesine in 1862 and as Xylonite in 1869, before being registered as Celluloid in 1870. Celluloid is...

     - another early plastic
  • Crystalate
    Crystalate Manufacturing Company
    Crystalate Manufacturing Company Ltd. was a British plastics and later electronic components manufacturing company that operated in one form or another from August 1901 through August 1990...

     - another early plastic
  • Galalith
    Galalith
    Galalith , is a synthetic plastic material manufactured by the interaction of casein and formaldehyde. Given a commercial name derived from the Greek words gala and lithos , it is odourless, insoluble in water, biodegradable, antiallergenic, antistatic and virtually nonflammable.-Discovery:In...

     - another early plastic, derived from milk
  • Novotext
    Novotext
    Novotext is a trade name for cotton textile-phenolic resin, essentially cotton-reinforced Bakelite. It was often used in car engines for gear wheels used to provide a direct drive to the camshaft as it is flexible and quiet-running. The material is known under various other names such as Turbax,...

     - brand name for cotton textile-phenolic resin
  • Phenol formaldehyde resin
    Phenol formaldehyde resin
    Phenol formaldehyde resins include synthetic thermosetting resins such as obtained by the reaction of phenols with formaldehyde. Sometimes the precursors include other aldehydes or other phenol. Phenolic resins are mainly used in the production of circuit boards...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK