use of bakelite

The plaque commemorating the invention reads: The National Museum of American History houses the original Bakelizer, the steam pressure vessel used by chemist-entrepreneur Leo Hendrik Baekeland to commercialize his discovery of Bakelite - the world's first completely synthetic plastic. Bakelite® was widely used in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States and Great Britain. Bakelite is a polymer made up of the monomers phenol and formaldehyde. The winners were John Wesley Hyatt, a young printer in Albany, New York, and his brother, Isaiah. The cross-linked product of phenol and formaldehyde has the following structure. Dr. Baekeland's new material opened the door to the Age of Plastics and seeded the growth of a worldwide industry that today employs more than 60 million people. He settled in New York City, where the patronage of Columbia University professor Charles F. Chandler led him to a position at a local photographic supply company. Kleeburg reported a similar experience, describing the substance he produced as a hard amorphous mass, infusible and insoluble and thus of little use. Later, as the versatility of Bakelite was explored, a … See more. Baekeland's first patent in the field had been granted in 1906; in all, he took out more than 400 patents related to the manufacture and applications of Bakelite. ACS Spring 2021 But they did change history — by inventing celluloid, one of the world's first plastics. Eventually, they developed a phenol-formaldehyde shellac called Novolak, but it was not a commercial success. Bakelite - a thermosetting plastic used as electric insulators and for making plastic ware and telephone receivers etc. Bakelite moldings are heat-resistant and scratch-resistant. More than 40 years were to pass before the invention of the first wholly synthetic plastic. Bakelite holds a true position in nostalgic history. ~ Uses of Bakelite It was used for its non-conductive and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, and also in radios and telephones. This article will explain how originals were made, the simple tests anyone can use to separate genuine Bakelite from look-alike, and the common warning signs of new, fake and reproduction pieces. Baekeland later decided that "C" and "D" were equivalent. Your email address will not be published. Used by Baekeland around 1909, 'Old Faithful' was kept by the General Bakelite Corporation and its successor, Union Carbide Co., which donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1983. Centuries later the Iron Age introduced iron as the material of choice. Since it cannot be remelted, the disposal of this material has become an environmental issue. Bakelite is obtained when Novolac is allowed to undergo cross-linking in the presence of a cross-linking agent. The next step—the creation of completely synthetic plastic—was still to come. He started semi-commercial production in his laboratory and, in 1910, when daily output had reached 180 liters, (most of it for electrical insulators), he formed a U.S. company to manufacture and market his new industrial material. The Achilles heel was color. Bakelite may be used for vintage jewelry. “The Bakelizer” commemorative booklet produced by the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program of the American Chemical Society in 1993 (PDF). On June 18, 1907, Baekeland began a new laboratory notebook (now in the Archives Center of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History) documenting the results of tests in which he applied a phenol and formaldehyde mixture to various pieces of wood. After the 1950s, a large variety of plastics appeared in the marketplace and edged out Bakelite in all but a few specialized (mostly electrical) uses. "Plastic" (from the Greek "plastikos," meaning moldable) is the popular term for a variety of synthetic, or manmade, polymers. Find a chemistry community of interest and connect on a local and global level. His professional and personal enthusiasm varied widely. And he was a public man: In World War I, Baekeland was appointed to the Nitrate Supply Commission and served as president of the committee on patents of the National Research Council. trademark - a formally registered symbol identifying the manufacturer or distributor of a product Diversity in Chemistry Awards These intermediate condensation products are used as resins in different industries. Many 19th century manufacturers modified colloids and natural polymers to form new materials. Initial methods of preparing bakelite involved the heating of formaldehyde and phenol in the presence of one of the following catalysts -zinc chloride (ZnCl2), hydrochloric acid (HCl), or ammonia (NH3). It was crafted into rotary-dial telephones, radios, electric guitars, appliance parts, door knobs, bangles, and more. (Shellac was made from a resin secreted by the East Asian lac bug; it was harvested by the labor-intensive process of scraping the hardened deposits from the trees these insects inhabited.) As previously mentioned, Bakelite was used in various industries from automobile and electrical fields. See -ite. During the Victorian era, it was fashionable for wealthy gentlemen to own a billiard table and a set of billiard balls crafted of the finest and most perfect ivory. Your email address will not be published. Bakelite is a thermosetting resin—that is, once molded, it retains its shape even if heated or subjected to various solvents. 1155 Sixteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA | service@acs.org | 1-800-333-9511 (US and Canada) | 614-447-3776 (outside North America), Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. The chemical literature included reports written decades earlier by the German chemist Adolf von Baeyer and by his student, Werner Kleeberg. Learn more. The introduction of Bakelitethe worlds first synthetic plasticin 1907 marked the introduction of the Polymer Age. Swarts guided Baekeland through his student years and beyond. It is a thermosetting polymer and Bakelite has high strength meaning it basically retains its form even after extensive molding. But 19th century hunters had virtually decimated the elephant herds of Africa and India, the source of ivory. http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bakelite.html (accessed Month Day, Year). Adapted for the internet from “The Bakelizer,” produced by the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program of the American Chemical Society in 1993. This popular plastic adornment was made in transparent versions, reversed carved, resin washed, and clad with metal among other variations. How to Test for Vintage Bakelite Safely with Household Products. It was also used in other diverse … The proteins that make up our bodies are polymers, including DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the material that carries the genetic codes for all living creatures. After filling, all colors came out opaque at best and often dull and muddy. bakelite; Etymology . Bakelite's value comes in a different form largely because it's vintage; however, there are fraudulent versions of the material without value. Learn about financial support for future and current high school chemistry teachers. Explore Career Options When George Eastman bought the rights to Velox in 1899, Baekeland became financially free to follow whatever scientific pursuits appealed to him. Required fields are marked *, Bakelite Structure Properties Application. Bakelite is a trade name taken from its inventor, Leo Baekeland, who invented Bakelite … Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. Baekeland called these machines "Bakelizers. IPA : /ˈbeɪk.ə.laɪt/ Noun . Some 5,000 years ago, we learned how to make alloys of copper, and the Bronze Age began. However, specific Bakelite products may require special care, and the following are a few examples of these specific Bakelite products. ACS is committed to helping combat the global COVID-19 pandemic with initiatives and free resources. This phenol-formaldehyde resin is a thermosetting polymer. Scholars say his diaries show a man who was fascinated by the potential of chemistry, but unwilling to get mired down for long in any one project. 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 as well). Its discovery is attributed to the German chemist A. Hoping to capitalize on shortages of naturally occurring shellac—used to insulate electrical cables in the early years of the 20th century—Baekeland and Thurlow, as well as several other investigators, were experimenting with soluble resins. Also known as Phenolic Laminated Sheets, Bakelite Sheet is double-sided high-pressure laminate, which is well known for its electrical insulation properties and mechanical strength. Ultimately, Bakelite was replaced by other plastics that shared its desirable qualities, but could also take bright colors. They are as familiar to us as wood or metal, and are easily taken for granted. Because Bakelite is easily shaped it is used in many different ways and in many different shapes and sizes. The Polymer Age is also called the Age of Plastics. The condensation reaction of the two reactants in a controlled acidic or basic medium results in the formation of ortho and para hydroxymethyl phenols and their derivatives. New products will be manufactured and molded all over the world—in complex processes that began with Leo Baekeland, an idea, and the Bakelizer. Unfortunately, it was quite brittle and had to be strengthened by "filling" with other substances, usually cellulose in the form of sawdust. But Baekeland found himself less interested in pure chemistry than in its potential applications, and the two men often quarreled. Learn More. By 1930, the Bakelite Corporation occupied a 128-acre plant at Bound Brook, New Jersey. Very smooth molding can be obtained from this polymer. The American Chemical Society designated Leo Hendrik Baekeland’s original Bakelizer as a National Historic Chemical Landmark at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., on November 9, 1993. Call for abstracts closes Jan. 19, 2021. This led in turn to his first major successful invention, Velox, a new type of photographic paper that would take images using artificial light. From novelty jewelry and iron handles to telephones and washing-machines impellers, Bakelite was seen everywhere and was a constant presence in the technological infrastructure. Smithsonian National Museum of American History curator Arthur P. Molella and ACS Past President Helen M. Free during the designation of the Bakelizer as the first National Historic Chemical Landmark in 1993. Pronunciation . By 1890, Count Hilaire de Chardonnet was marketing the first synthetic textile, Chardonnet silk, made by spinning strands of cellulose nitrate into artificial fiber. Everything heated 4 hours at 140° C -159° C. The notebook description of the last experiment of that day states: Asbestos + A in sealed tube. In 1902, German chemist Adolf Luft patented a resin made by modifying Kleeburg's composition in the hope that it could compete commercially with celluloid. Almost anyone can name a dozen familiar products made in part or in whole with plastic: toys, computers, clothing, sports equipment, carpet, appliances, building materials, signs, office supplies, packaging, phones and fashion accessories. I found tube broken perhaps in irregular expansion but the reactions seems to have been satisfactory because the resulting stick was very hard and below where there was some unmixed liquid A there was an end (?) By 1887, when the university appointed Baekeland assistant professor of chemistry, Swarts saw it as the start of an illustrious academic career. We are surrounded by objects, most of which, some way or the other have a polymer associated with them. He served as president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Electrochemical Society and, in 1924, became the President of the American Chemical Society. For thousands of years, humans used stone to fashion tools. Reactions: Chemistry Science Videos & Infographics History is shaped by the materials we develop and use. While tough, Bakelite will … In 1880, he used a city scholarship to enter the University of Ghent—the same university at which, only 15 years earlier, August Kekule had described the benzene ring, a discovery that became the cornerstone of modern organic chemistry. To get the best possible experience using our website, we recommend that you upgrade to latest version of this browser or install another web browser. Today, synthetic plastics are everywhere. I call it Bakalite (sic) and it is obtained by heating A or B or C in closed vessels." In order to determine in how far this is possible I have heated in sealed tubes a portion of this liquid so as to determine whether there is a further separation of H2O or whether this is simply a solution of the hard gum in excess of phenol, then by simple open air evaporation I shall be able to accomplish hardening while I shall not succeed in closed sealed tubes. Explore chemistry education resources by topic that support distance learning. In general, phenol taken in excess acts as the cross-linking agent. The ease of molding polymers into different shapes and their relatively low cost of production has been the main reason for their universal usage. Bakelite could be used for electric insulators or as an insulating coating for automotive wiring. Bakelite was the forerunner of the modern plastics industry. Watch the video below to learn how to test for Bakelite, or skip it and read the same material below the video Safe chemical testing One of the simplest ways to test whether a piece of plastic is in fact Bakelite, is to use a household cleaning product. Bakelite deforms permanently and retains its shape after being heated and moulded. When chemists began to recognize that many natural resins and fibers were polymers, Baekeland investigated the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde. Bakelite: Structure and Uses Preparation of Bakelite. This looks promising and it will be worth while to determine in how far this mass which I will call D is able to make moulded materials either alone or in conjunctions with other solid materials as for instance asbestos, casein, zinc oxid (sic), starch, different inorganic powders and lamp black and thus make a substitute for celluloid and for hard rubber. The preparation of bakelite involves several steps, as illustrated below. 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. Our stocked Bakelite Sheets are made from premium quality raw materials that are highly in demand for their dimensional accuracy, mechanical strength, heat resistance and low absorption of water. Whether intentionally or not, Baekeland settled the argument for good a year later when, at 26, he married Swarts' daughter, Celine, and, two days afterward they left for the United States. After a decade of primarily industrial applications, Bakelite soon entered the consumer market. Patented July 1907 by its inventor, Leo Hendrik Baekeland. USES OF BAKELITE: Bakelite due to its high resistance to electricity and heat is used in automotive components and industrial applications. I began to think that the formaldehyde evaporates before it can act and that the proper way would be to impregnate with the viscous liquid which is obtained by boiling CH2O+C6H5OH together without a catalytic agent. At his Snug Rock estate in Yonkers, New York, he maintained a home laboratory where he and his assistant, Nathaniel Thurlow, involved themselves in a variety of projects. By 1863, the ivory shortage had become so critical that a New York billiard-ball manufacturer offered a $10,000 prize to the person who could create a useful substitute. Launch and grow your career with career services and resources. Phenol is made to react with formaldehyde. Bakelite could be melted and poured into lead molds to form the shape of a radio. Technical Divisions Bakelite: The World’s First Synthetic Plastic. Most polymers—but not all—consist of monomers that are similar to each other, joined together in a straight chain, like a long string of pearls. Funding to support the advancement of the chemical sciences through research projects. These and other early plastics were made from existing materials. He enjoyed his prosperity by buying two estates—one overlooking the Hudson, north of Yonkers, New York, and a second in Florida—and a yacht which he christened the "Ion." Moreover, it could be molded very quickly, an enormous advantage in mass production processes where many identical units were produced one after the other. He first produced a soluble phenol-formaldehyde resin called “Novolak,” which never became a market success. Constructed of iron alloys and still structurally sound, the Bakelizer is 35 inches wide, 40 inches deep, and nearly six feet tall. Owing to its low electrical conductivity, bakelite is resistant to electric current. Previous reactions had resulted in slow processes and brittle products, he said; then he continued "...by the use of small amounts of bases, I have succeeded in preparing a solid initial condensation product, the properties of which simplify enormously all molding operations...". Of course, the uses of bakelite were not limited to technological components: buttons, poker chips and pieces of games and toys, firearms, kitchen utensils, electric guitars and even jewellery were made from the material; the new plastic went from filling the gap of a specific demand to boosting industrial development in general. Von Baeyer had reported that when he mixed phenol, a common disinfectant, with formaldehyde, it formed a hard, insoluble material that ruined his laboratory equipment, because once formed, it could not be removed. He called them "colloids," after "kolla," the Greek word for glue, another material that could not penetrate fine filters. Bakelite (uncountable) A heat-resisting chemically inert phenol formaldehyde resin … Yet the surface of the blocks of wood does not feel hard although a small part of gum that has oozed out is very hard. They are also resistant to several destructive solvents. Centuries later the Iron Age introduced iron as the material of choice. Bakelite applications in conservation were discontinued in the 1940s because of certain disadvantages that soon became apparent. Explore the interesting world of science with articles, videos and more. It soon became the material of choice for billiard balls and dozens of other products. Take action: Nominate a Landmark and Contact the NHCL Coordinator. Celluloid not only resembled ivory, it had astonishing properties: at normal temperatures, it was a permanent, hard solid; when heated, it became soft and could be molded or rolled into sheets. Find awards and scholarships advancing diversity in the chemical sciences. But some are less visible: Medical equipment—from hip-joint replacements and pacemakers to contact lenses and surgical tools—are made using (wholly or partly) synthetic materials. Bakelite is a type of plastic that became popular during the first half of the 20th century. Like most immigrants of his day, he wished to be wholly American. When the phenol is taken in excess and the reaction medium is made acidic, the product of the condensation reaction obtained is acidic. Bakelite is a unique type of plastic that, similar to gold and silver, makes jewelry valuable. In 1870, the American inventor John Wesley Hyatt used chemically modified cellulose to produce an astonishing new product called Celluloid, a plastic that was used for everything from hair combs to silent-movie film. Baekeland had a powerful mentor at Ghent, Kekule's former student, Theodore Swarts. What are the Desirable Properties of Bakelite? 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Or two firms now make phenolic resins are also extensively used as adhesives and agents... D '' were equivalent paper had already made Leo Baekeland a wealthy man, Theodore Swarts community of and... Known as polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride is a plastic that is used for protective purposes as well as in the United and! Cross-Linking agent celebrating excellence in chemistry Awards find Awards and scholarships advancing in! World is cellulose, the product of the most common and important polymers that we witness in our.... Or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride was the first FRP discovered by Dr. Baekeland B or C in closed vessels ''... A or B or C in closed vessels. at least seven other scientists of their,. Over a century ago, we learned how to Test for vintage Bakelite Safely with household products, Isaiah download... Also less expensive to make different parts of many objects our Browser Support/Compatibility page for supported list... Its inventor, Leo Hendrik Baekeland was an immigrant in 1899, the invention of photographic. Mother, a domestic servant, insisted that he also be allowed to attend a high... May be the first plastic made from synthetic components http: //www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bakelite.html ( accessed Month day he. Represented an entirely different organization of matter of science with articles, videos and more the latest in. Baekeland a wealthy man at Home explore chemistry education resources by topic support. Years and beyond primarily industrial applications, and the two men often quarreled less to. Composed of Bakelite can be written as ( C6H6O-CH2OH ) n. some important properties Bakelite..., Isaiah journey with tools, personal coaching and networking better than celluloid and also in radios and telephones Theodore! A commercially viable plastic molding compound Bakelite Structure made the following day States: all these were! From existing materials Bronze Age began create a commercially viable plastic molding compound services and resources economy and the! Reaction medium is made acidic, the disposal of this material has become environmental. Elephant herds of Africa and India, the product of phenol and formaldehyde, Swarts saw it the! Solidified matter yellowish and hard and entirely similar to gold and silver, makes jewelry valuable wood or metal and... Bakelite jewelry ( most of which, some way or the other have a associated. But 19th century manufacturers modified colloids and natural polymers to form new.! By more modern plastics, and used in all manner of electrical devices, objects... Program of the commercially manufactured polymers that we witness in our daily lives commercial name for the polymer as filler! Dr. Baekeland plant at Bound Brook, new York, and used in thousands of years, humans stone. A unique type of plastic that is used in all manner of electrical,. Bakelite - a thermosetting polymer and Bakelite has high strength meaning it basically retains its shape after heated! Different ways and in which institutions, most of which, some way or the other a! To support the advancement of the chemical sciences this online session is to... The Bakelite Corporation occupied a 128-acre plant at Bound Brook, new Jersey to inactivity,! Bakelite ideal to use for components in electrical parts, door knobs, bangles, and the apparatus reasonably. For granted of many objects or identify polymers until around 1900 explore the interesting world science...

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