NILERED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NILERED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bakelite precursor plastic formation. Beaker containing a mixture of phenol, formaldehyde solution, and glacial acetic acid. Hydrochloric acid is added to initiate the condensation reaction that produces a form of bakelite (pink, seen at end of clip), which is a polymer (plastic) that combines phenol and formaldehyde (a phenol formaldehyde resin). This is a type known as a resole. One of the factors affecting the quality of the plastic produced is the rate at which the reaction proceeds. If it is allowed to proceed too fast, the water present will boil off as the plastic forms, and the plastic will be puffed up, full of air, and structurally weak. Here, the stirrer is turned off, resulting in even more puffing up during the formation of the plastic. The sample produced here is an example of a weak form of bakelite. The plastic's inventor, Leo Baekeland, made refinements to the methods used and produced a workable plastic in 1907. Bakelite was one of the first synthetic plastics.
Model release not required. Property release not required.