RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bakelite molecule. Animation of the structure of the molecules that polymerise to form the plastic bakelite. Atoms are colour-coded spheres: carbon (grey), hydrogen (white) and oxygen (red). The clip starts with two molecules of the aromatic chemical phenol (C6.H5.OH) joined by a bridge of the formaldehyde molecule (C.H2.O) with its oxygen atom eliminated. This reaction repeats to form the polymer, a partial view of which is shown in the rest of the clip. One of the first synthetic plastics, Bakelite was developed by Belgian-born chemist Leo Baekeland in New York in 1907.
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