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The Properties, Formation And Uses of Bakelite Plastic Sheets


Bakelite is the first plastic that is widely used today for designing a variety of products that range from electrical gadgets to telephones, jewelry to saucepan handles and more. American Chemical Society has also awarded Bakelite Plastic as the National Historical Chemical Landmark in 1993 for its recognition as the crucial material and the first synthetic plastic that was ever made in the world.

It has earned a reputation as the Material of Thousand Uses. However, the trademark right of Bakelite Plastic Sheets is still owned by a German Company called Bakelite AG in most of the nations. Let us have a closer look at the different uses of Bakelite Plastic and its properties.

The Properties and Formation of Bakelite Plastic Sheets!


To design the Bakelite Plastic Sheets glass or fabric cloth are saturated with the synthetic resin. The cloth that is used can also be made out of cellulose paper, cotton, synthetic yarn, unwoven fabrics or glass fabrics. Now heat along with the required pressure is applied to the material and owing to this pressure the material converts into thermosetting plastic. This is how the Bakelite Plastic sheet is formed. The prime properties of Bakelite Plastic sheet include:

  • The Bakelite Plastic sheet is the trade name for phenol formaldehyde resin and the chemical name of it is polyoxybenzyl methylene glycol anhydride.
  • Bakelite Plastic is basically the thermosetting plastic which is the kind of plastic that softens and also becomes malleable when it is heated. Thereafter, it comes permanently rigid and harder when a temperature is reduced or it becomes cool. So, it can be used for a variety of purposes.
  • It is the bad conductor of heat and electricity and hence it can resist heat and it is non-inflammable. This material can also resist chemical actions.
  • Bakelite Plastic is the first synthetic plastic which was designed in Age of Plastics. It was developed by Leo Baekeland in 1907 in New York.
  • This product can eliminate reactions of phenol with the formaldehyde. It is the type of resin which is compound that belongs to the class of solid or semi-solid viscous elements and it is obtained either as the exudations of different plants or it is prepared through the process of polymerization of simple compound molecules. Moreover, the dielectric constant of the Bakelite Plastic ranges from 4.4 to 4.5.

What are the Prime Uses of Bakelite Plastic Sheets?

Bakelite Plastic Sheets

The products manufactured using the Bakelite Plastic Sheets are many and have lots of overheads because it is costly and the process for manufacturing is also complex. Initially, it was used to design a variety of products like:

  • Cameras
  • Saxophone mouthpiece
  • Telephone
  • Electric guitars
  • Pipe Stems
  • Appliance casings
  • Whistles
  • Buttons

Since the material is heat resistant and can resists electricity, chemical actions and more, it is also used for designing various other products, such as:

  • Vacuum tubes
  • Bases and sockets for light bulks
  • Clocks
  • Jewelry
  • Insulation of brake pads, wires, and other automobile parts
  • Electric components
  • Radios
  • Kitchenware like saucepan handles, canisters and more
  • Game pieces that are used in billiards, poker, chess, dominoes, checkers, mah-jong tiles and more.

Unfortunately, the applications of Bakelite Plastic Sheets have been reduced in the recent past years because of its high prices and overheads as well as complexity in designing products. But, this material still proves to be the most useful and crucial material for a variety of items and processes. You will still see some of the products designed with Bakelite Plastic, especially no substitute is found.

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