Living dating in the dark application
Experiments with phenolic resins actually predated Baekeland’s work.
In 1872 the German chemist Adolf von Baeyer condensed trifunctional phenol and difunctional formaldehyde, and in subsequent decades Baeyer’s student Werner Kleeberg and other chemists investigated the products, but they failed to pursue the reaction because they were unable to crystallize and characterize the amorphous resinous products.
In 1911 Baekeland’s General Bakelite Company began operations in Perth Amboy, N. S., and soon afterward many companies were using Bakelite plastic products.
In a plastics market virtually monopolized by celluloid, a highly flammable material that dissolved readily and softened with heat, Bakelite found ready acceptance because it could be made insoluble and infusible.
The polymers are dark in colour as a result of side reactions during polymerization.
Because their colour frequently stains the wood, they are not suitable for interior decorative paneling.
As such, they have had many industrial applications—for instance, in automobile topcoats and in finishes for appliances and metal furniture.
Although molded products no longer represent their most important application, through their use as adhesives they still represent almost half of the total production of thermosetting polymers.
Novolacs resemble the polymer except that they are of much lower molecular weight and are still thermoplastic.
Curing to network polymer is accomplished by the addition of more formaldehyde or, more commonly, of compounds that decompose to formaldehyde on heating.
Swan did not follow up the demonstrations of his invention, so that the development of rayon as a practical fibre really began in France, with the work of Louis-Marie-Hilaire Bernigaud, comte de Chardonnet, who is frequently called the father of the rayon industry.
In 1889 Chardonnet exhibited fibres made by squeezing a nitrocellulose solution through spinnerettes, hardening the emerging jets in warm air, and then reconverting them to cellulose by chemical treatment.