Phenol formaldehyde

(without filler)

(with filler)

Acronym and details:   PF.  With wood flour or other filler as powder or pre-formed tablets and as liquid resin. Often called cast phenolic

Group:   thermoset

Developed:   With filler 1907: not widely used until after 1915; still used for electrical moulds and saucepan handles. As liquid resin: 1927.

Trade names:   With filler: Bakelite; Mouldrite; Nestorite; Roanoids.  As liquid resin: Bakelite; Catalin; Carvacraft

Manufacturing process:  with filler: compression moulding

Cost:   medium

Colour:   With filler: usually dark in colour: black, shades of green, red and brown, often mottled sometimes in wood effects. As liquid resin: any, but frequently amber and green, seldom blue

Transparency:   With filler: always opaque. As resin: seldom transparent; often translucent and marbled; sometimes opaque

Rigidity:   always rigid

Feel:   hard

Smell:   carbolic acid

Other:   good electrical and heat resistance

Typical uses:   With filler: domestic items: radio, clock and hair dryer casings, ash trays, boxes; electrical fittings; car components, aircraft and military components; cooker knobs; kettle handles.  As liquid resin: napkin rings and bangles; desk accessories; wireless cabinets, especially American; jewellery; laminate surfacing, e.g. Formica™.

Degradation:   With filler: relatively stable but colour darkened by exposure to light, green becoming brown, also goes dull. As liquid resin: brittle but relatively stable; discolours