First synthetic plastic / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Quick facts: Identifiers, Properties, Thermochemistry...
3D model (JSmol)
  • none
  • Oc0ccccc0Cc0cc(C1)c(O)c(c0)Cc0c(O)ccc(c0)Cc0ccc(O)c(c0)Cc0c(O)ccc(c0)Cc0c(O)ccc(c0)Cc0c(O)c(C2)cc(c0)Cc0c(O)ccc(c0)Cc(c0O)cc2cc0Cc0cc(Cc2ccc(O)cc2)c(O)c(c0)Cc0c(O)ccc(c0)C1
Molar mass Variable
Appearance Brown solid
Density 1.3 g/cm3[1]
Thermal conductivity 0.2 W/(m·K)[1]
0.92 kJ/(kg·K)[1]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).

Bakelite (/ˈbkəlt/ BAY-kə-lyte), formally Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from a condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. The first plastic made from synthetic components, it was developed by Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York in 1907, and patented on December 7, 1909 (U.S. Patent 942699A).

Because of its electrical nonconductivity and heat-resistant properties, it became a great commercial success. It was used in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings, and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, children's toys, and firearms. The "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products has made them collectible.[3]

The creation of a synthetic plastic was revolutionary for the chemical industry, which at the time made most of its income from cloth dyes and explosives. Bakelite's commercial success inspired the industry to develop other synthetic plastics. In recognition of its significance as the world's first commercial synthetic plastic, which transformed the chemical industry, Bakelite was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark on November 9, 1993, by the American Chemical Society.[4]