Bakelite is a thermoplastic substance made from phenol-formaldehyde and was produced from 1907 to 1909 by an American-Belgian chemist named Baekeland. It is interesting to know that this was the first composite plastic that was made of composite materials! The properties of electrical conductivity and heat resistance have led to the use of this type of plastic for radio, telephone, electrical insulation. The applications of bakelite are very extensive; It is also used to make kitchen utensils, jewelry, children’s toys, and pipe wood. In addition, bakelite is used under different brands to produce various products in various industries, including electronics, power generation, and aerospace. In the continuation of this PETROPROVIDERS article, join us to show you applications of bakelite.

Bakelite production history

Bakelite Production

Bakelite Production

Bakelite is the first synthetic plastic produced by the American chemist Leo Bikeland in 1907. This synthetic material was designed and manufactured in New York; It is made of layers of paper or glass cloth coated with synthetic resins.

This material has always been popular because of its unique properties. applications of bakelite are very diverse; All these applications were discovered after the development of production of this material. In 1993, the American Chemical Society recognized bakelite as an ancient chemical because of its importance as the first synthetic plastic ever formulated in the world.

Bakelite is a plastic that is used to make many products, including telephones, electrical appliances, and jewelry, for the bat. The more appropriate name for this plastic is ‘metal with thousands of functions’! The trademark rights for this plastic belong to a German company called Bakelite AG in many countries. Let us examine the various properties and applications of Bakelite.

Today, applications of bakelite are very diverse in our lives and are widely used in the manufacture of electrical tools and electrical components. This bakelite powder is used in many raw materials and various products.

Given the constant advancement of science in various industries, we see whether new and more modern production methods for bakelite will be discovered in the coming years. Next, let’s get acquainted with the process of making and producing bakelite.

How is bakelite formed and produced?

Bakelite Producing

Bakelite Producing

Bakelite is a thermoset material and is a synthetic composition of resin made with fins from wood dust as well as refractory cotton. This will give you higher strength. Bakelite is also known by other names such as phenol-formaldehyde, phenolic resin, and phenolic.

In the process of producing bakelite, layers of paper or glass cloth are used; These layers are impregnated with synthetic resins. The material of this fabric is cotton, cellulose, non-woven fabric, synthetic yarn, or fiberglass. After determining the fabric and impregnating it with resin, heat and pressure are applied to it. After producing bakelite, we see that this material produces different products with high resistance; The reason for the popularity of bakelite applications is that it can be very durable.

Bakelite production is done with a multi-step process. In the first stage, heating to phenol and formaldehyde is done with the presence of catalysts such as hydrochloric acid, zinc chloride, or ammonia base. In this case, a dense liquid product is produced, known as bakelite A, which is soluble in alcohol, acetone, or phenol.

If this material is exposed to more heat, it becomes semi-soluble and can even be softened by heat. If this heat continues, a kind of rigid product will be produced.

However, the heat required to achieve such a state causes the composition to become strongly foamy, and eventually, when the composition cools, holes will be observed in it and it will be brittle. According to Baekeland’s patented steps, the dense product must be placed in an egg-shaped bakelite at this stage.

When the material is exposed to a temperature of 150 ° C or 300 ° F, it is possible to prevent foaming. The resulting material will be very hard and will be insoluble and impermeable, and we know that applications of bakelite will be very diverse.

Bakelite producers must comply with the standard conditions for the production of this material. In addition, Bakelite Manufacture must be done in bulk to reduce costs. For example, Bakelite Iran is one of the most important products produced in Iran and is used for various uses in Iran and abroad.

1. Compression molding to produce bakelite

A spark plug in an explosion-proof engine made of bakelite produces these materials using dense reactions of phenol and formaldehyde with wood flour or asbestos fibers (as fillers). These materials are subjected to high pressure and heat for several minutes; Eventually, hard and solid material is produced.

Bakelite molding processes have special advantages. Bakelite resins can be in the form of powder or semi-processed slugs that increase the molding speed. Thermosetting resins, such as bakelite, require heat and pressure during the molding cycle but can be removed from the molding process without cooling. It then increased the molding speed again. Also, because these materials have soft, polished surfaces, millions of pieces can be copied at low speed and cost.

2. Phenolic sheets

Another way to produce these materials is to use phenolic sheets. These sheets are hardened by applying heat and pressure to layers of paper or glass impregnated with composite resins. Paper, cotton fabrics, composite fibers, and glass are some of the options used for the laminating process.

In the bakelite production process, when heat and pressure are applied, polymerization causes the layers to become thermosetting industrial plastic layers. Bakelite phenolic sheets are produced in different grades and in their production different additives are used to meet the mechanical, electrical, and thermal needs.

What are the properties of Bakelite? What are its uses?

Bakelite Materials

Bakelite Materials

As mentioned, bakelite is a global brand name for phenol-formaldehyde resin. Its chemical and unfamiliar name is methylene glycol plexide anhydride. This plastic is a kind of thermoset material that can harden against heat. It should be noted that thermoset plastic is a natural liquid plastic.

This material becomes malleable when exposed to heat. If the bakelite cools after heating, it will harden permanently. Therefore, applications of bakelite can be observed and used to produce a variety of plastic materials.

Bakelite is easily and quickly molded, which is a very important advantage in the production of bulk materials (in which many duplicate units are produced one after another). Bakelite is a thermosetting resin and therefore retains its shape and does not deform when molded, even after exposure to heat or various solvents.

It has a pure amber color and can accept other colors. Unfortunately, this material is very delicate and brittle and must be reinforced or reinforced with fillers (usual cellulose in the form of sawdust). After using fillers, all colors were opaque and vague, and finally, unfortunately, bakelite was replaced by other plastics that had the same desirable properties but also had a glossy color.

This is a product of the phenol removal reaction with formaldehyde. Plastic is a resin, in other words, a material that belongs to a class of solid or semi-solid viscous material obtained by the secretion of certain plants or by polymerization of simple molecules. In addition, this material has the following properties:

  1. The dielectric constant of bakelite is 4.4 to 5.4.
  2. Bakelite is a dielectric insulator; That is, it does not conduct electricity.
  3. This plastic is resistant to a chemical reaction.
  4. This plastic is non-flammable and heat resistant.

What are the most important applications of bakelite?

bakelite in industries

bakelite in industries

Bakelite is a good option for new developments in the field of electricity and automobiles; Because it has extraordinary resistance to heat, electricity, and chemicals. Manufacturers in various industries soon realized that this material was a good choice for non-conductive parts inside radios and other electrical appliances; Such as the base and socket of lamps and electronic tubes, supporting parts for a variety of electrical components, lids for automotive distribution parts, and other insulation.

Molded bakelite, in addition to being used in the electrical field, has also found its place in the modern world today. Bakelite is found in all aspects of our lives and technology-based infrastructures. From modern and new jewelry to iron handles for phones and washing machine impellers. Bakelite Company has chosen the symbol of infinite mathematics for its company and its trade phrase is a material with thousands of uses. In any case, they did not impose any restrictions on this type of plastic.

Making quality products has high costs; This material is expensive to manufacture and its production and processing processes are complex. Therefore, an alternative has been found. But recently, it has been used to make various products, such as:

  1. Sockets for lamp light
  2. Electronic components
  3. Jewelry
  4. Vacuum tubes
  5. Gas meter parts
  6. Car distributor caps and other insulators
  7. Clocks
  8. cameras
  9. Home appliance cover
  10. Radios
  11. Saxophone speaker
  12. whistle
  13. Production of flute batches
  14. Manufacture of wire insulation, brake pads, and some selected parts of the car
  15. Production of electric guitars
  16. Phones
  17. Manufacture of home appliances
  18. Electrical components such as bakelite terminal
  19. Produce buttons
Bakelite uses

Bakelite uses

Due to the resistance of bakelite to heat, electricity, and chemical activities, applications of bakelite are very diverse today:

  • Toys and parts used in playing chess
  • pool
  • Production of domino parts
  • Mahjong Checkers Tiles
  • Kitchen accessories such as cans, pans, etc.

Although the use of bakelite has declined significantly in recent years due to its harmful effects, applications of bakelite continue to increase.

How to distinguish bakelite from plastic?

Bakelite vs Palatic

Bakelite vs Palatic

Since different types of phenolic resins are known as bakelite, it is a little difficult to distinguish true bakelite. But with a few simple tests, such as examining the delicacy of the hand (in the jewelry) and the presence of an oxide layer, it can be detected from plastic. By pulling the cotton cloth impregnated with special cleaning agents on the original bakelite, ivory and pale yellow stains remain on the fabric. This is one of the characteristics of bakelite and plastics do not have such an effect or their stain will be the same color as plastic.

This method can be used on almost all bakelites except freshly polished and rusted bakelites, or red and black bakelites that sometimes give confusing results. It should be noted that the use of this method should be done by the standards.

Because bakelite is fragile and sensitive, its production is costly and involves complex processes. Applications of bakelite have been limited for some time; This material is not used to produce general and consumer products. This is due to the harms and dangers that this substance has to human health. In the following, we will mention the dangers of using bakelite.

In addition, bakelite is used to produce various products in various industries, including electronics, electricity, and aerospace, and under different brands. We know that applications of bakelite are very diverse. So we need to know the diagnosis of this material from plastic.

Plastic products also have good resistance in most cases; For example, HIPS polystyrene is a type of plastic that has unique properties. In addition, General Purpose polystyrene or GPPS is also present in PETROPROVIDERS products, which is used to produce plastic products.

Are applications of bakelite safe?

Bakelite in Jewelry

Bakelite in Jewelry

The dangerous nature of bakelite can come from many sources; Such as production, collection, and transfer or disposal. When bakelite is produced (composite plastics that contain large amounts of formaldehyde, cotton wool, and other toxic polymers), most people who have been involved in the production process themselves are at risk.

In previous years, safety and health-oriented precautions were not mandatory and were not considered as conditions and standards for the production of bakelite. Hardworking men and women were more likely to develop various diseases when exposed to the substance. In addition, in the past, the collection of these materials was fraught with dangers.

If these substances break down, the compound is transmitted by air and can harm humans through inhalation, direct skin contact, or swallowing. Bakelite collections are beautiful and deadly at the same time. Disposal of this material, like other plastic materials, is very dangerous for the environment.

When people lived in houses with older decorations, they were exposed to bakelite by replacing floor or ceiling tiles. In addition, bakelite collectors are more resistant to this material, especially if the bracelets or containers are broken.

If bakelite products are not disposed of properly, they create a lot of environmental hazards. In addition, they have long-term and significant risks to human health. These products not only contain formaldehyde but also contain asbestos, which is a toxic substance.

Exposure to dust can cause lung infection, mesothelioma (a type of cancer), and other respiratory problems. Although more treatments have been developed to improve these conditions, this risk still threatens the manufacturers of bakelite materials and their preservatives.

Like phthalic anhydride, it can be harmful to human health. In addition, we know that the raw material for the production of dioctyl phthalate, or DOP, is phthalate, which is also toxic. So in addition to bakelite, you should be careful about the safety of DOP and phthalic anhydride.

A summary of reviews of applications of bakelite

In this article from PETROPROVIDERS, we examined the types of applications of bakelite. This material is used to produce a variety of materials resistant to impact and pressure. In addition, in this article, we examined the differences and differences between bakelite and plastic materials.

Other products of bakelite (resin) include phenolic sheets. Phenolic sheet is a very hard and also dense material that is produced by applying heat as well as pressure on layers of paper or even glass cloth impregnated with various types of synthetic resins.

Bakelite is very expensive to make and mass production of this substance can be very harmful to human health and the environment. It should be noted that this material is used to produce jewelry, gas parts, home appliances, radios, flutes, buttons, cameras, watches, etc. This material has the best and most practical injection molding and also has good electrical performance, heat resistance, and flame resistance.

This substance causes irreparable damage to human health. It is interesting to know that in the past, in the process of producing bakelite, no care was taken and many injuries were inflicted on humans. At present, strict standards have been set for the production of this hazardous substance and applications of bakelite. What is your opinion about this article? Are applications of bakelite useful for everyday life? Is it necessary to use bakelite to make all kinds of widely used materials?


Why is bakelite expensive?

Because this material is difficult to produce and its production costs are very high.

Is Bakelite still used?

Yes! This substance is still used despite the many dangers to human health and is used to produce a variety of resistant products.

Why is Bakelite and applications of Bakelite currently limited?

This substance is dangerous for human health and the environment; For this reason, its use has been limited since the 1940s.

What materials are bakelite made of?

It is made of phenol and formaldehyde; There are a variety of methods for producing bakelite that is used in industry.

Is it safe to wear bakelite jewelry?

Yes! The use of this material for the production of jewelry is very popular. You can use this material as jewelry without worry!

Is Bakelite safe in the oven?

No! Never put this material in the oven and do not heat it at a very high temperature.

What are the disadvantages of applications of bakelite?

This substance is very fragile and also harmful to human health.

Is Bakelite better than plastic?

Bakelite and plastic have different advantages and disadvantages. Bakelite is an expensive material but does not catch fire.

Can I make bakelite?

Yes! You can make this material and you have to follow different standards.

Is bakelite fireproof?

Yes! Bakelite is one of the most important fire-retardant materials.