Urea formaldehyde


Urea formaldehyde is a rigid, compression moulded thermoset material. It is often pale in colour.


Hans John from Prague took out a patent for urea formaldehyde resin in the 1910s. The material only becomes practical for commercial use as thiourea urea formaldehyde in 1925 and was improved to urea formaldehyde in 1929. The role of urea formaldehyde had been taken by other plastics by 1950s although as a foam it was used into the 1970s and 1980s as building insulation. Urea formaldehyde absorbs water and as such was superseded by melamine formaldehyde for most uses.

Common uses

It was commonly used in domestic wares and picnic sets.  It had a high electrical insulation value and as such was used in electrical fittings and casings.


As a thermoset material the only way to recycle urea formaldehyde is to grind it to a powder and recompress it.