When they were invented over a century ago, Bakelite® phenolic molding compounds revolutionized the manufacture of household goods such as radios and lamp cases. Today, molding compounds based on epoxy [EP], unsaturated polyester [UP], melamine phenolic [MP] and phenolic [PF] resins allow products to be mass produced in an infinite variety of contours and forms.
Dimensional stability, surface hardness and heat resistance, coupled with inherently low flammability and superb electrical features, are hallmarks of these materials. Bakelite® molding compounds continue to be used in household appliances but are increasingly found in tight tolerance high performance parts in automotive under-the-hood applications such as pistons, pulleys, valve blocks and pump parts and in a variety of electrical components.
Modern processing techniques coupled with next-generation formulations are expanding the universe of applications where Bakelite® molding compounds are being used. Bakelite® engineering thermosets (ETS) make it possible to design lightweight complex parts that require precision and performance. Usable as molded, they can be a lower cost solution than die-cast metal.
Bakelite® molding compounds are engineering thermosets (ETS) not engineering thermoplastics (ETP). Once processed and cured, they are infusible and cannot be re-melted or dissolved. This is the key to their strength, toughness and durability.