A bakelite case radio.
A plastic, a dense synthetic polymer (a phenolic resin) that was used to make jewellery, game pieces, engine parts, radio boxes, switches, and many, many other objects. Bakelite was the first industrial thermoset plastic (a material that does not change its shape after being mixed and heated). Bakelite plastic is made from carbolic acid (phenol) and formaldehyde, which are mixed, heated, and then either moulded or extruded into the desired shape.

Baekeland operated the General Bakelite Company from 1911 to 1939 (in Perth Amboy, N.J., USA), and produced up to about 200,000 tons of Bakelite annually. Bakelite replaced the very flammable celluloid plastic that had been so popular.

Bakelite was patented in 1907 by the Belgian-born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland (November 14, 1863 - February 23, 1944). The Nobel Prize winning German chemist Adolf von Baeyer had experimented with this material in 1872, but did not complete its development or see its potential.

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Density 1362 kgm-3Clip
Specific heat capacity 1600 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 17 Wm-1K-1Clip
Dielectric constant 3.6 Clip
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See also: Baekeland, Leo Hendrik, Plastic.

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Subjects: Chemistry