Bakelite

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Bakelite (bā´kəlīt) [for its inventor, L. H. Baekeland], synthetic thermosetting resin. It has been widely used both alone, to form whole objects, and in combination with other materials, as a laminate or a surface coating. It was used as a substitute for hard rubber, amber, or celluloid; for insulating electrical apparatus (since it is a nonconductor); and for the manufacture of certain machinery gears, phonograph records, and many other articles useful and ornamental and as diverse in character as buttons, billiard balls, pipestems, and umbrella handles. Bakelite is a condensation polymer of formaldehyde and phenol. In practice, the phenol and formaldehyde are first polymerized to a small extent by using the proper choice of catalyst and temperature. The resulting prepolymer, called a resol, is a low-melting, soluble material, which can then be combined with a filler (usually cotton linters or wood fibers) and a pigment and heated under pressure in a mold to yield an object of the desired shape. The pure resin is colorless or amber-colored and very brittle; the various fillers and other additives give it the desired properties depending on its application. Heating of the prepolymer results in extensive cross-links between the polymer chains, resulting in a tightly bound three-dimensional network. A Bakelite-type resin can also be formed using furfural in place of the formaldehyde.

views updated

Bakelite •halite • candlelight • fanlight •lamplight • gaslight • flashlight •starlight • headlight • penlight •daylight • tail light •Peelite, pelite •street light • phyllite • rubellite •Carmelite • proselyte • Monothelite •highlight, skylight, stylite, twilight •sidelight • limelight • night light •spotlight • torchlight • lowlight •cryolite • microlight • moonlight •cellulite • floodlight • sunlight •rushlight • Pre-Raphaelite • firelight •acolyte • Bakelite • Armalite •Ishmaelite • phonolite • cosmopolite •electrolyte • Israelite • corallite •heteroclite • chrysolite • socialite •satellite • tantalite • overflight •pearlite, perlite •searchlight

views updated

Bakelite Trade name (coined by its inventor US chemist Leo Baekeland) for a thermosetting plastic used for insulating purposes and in making paint. It was the first plastic made by the process of condensation, in which many molecules of two chemicals (in this case phenol and formaldehyde) are joined together to form large polymer molecules, by splitting off water molecules.

views updated

Ba·ke·lite / ˈbāk(ə)ˌlīt/ • n. trademark an early form of brittle plastic, typically dark brown, made from formaldehyde and phenol, used chiefly for electrical equipment.

views updated

Bakelite P. name of synthetic resin used as plastic. XX. f. name of L. H. Baekeland, Belgian-Amer. inventor (1863–1944); see -ITE