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Subject: Bakelite


From: Julia Fenn <juliaf>
Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2000
Hildegard Heine <hildegard_heine [at] hotmail__com> writes

>I am looking urgently for information about 'bakelite'. Has anybody
>experiences in identification, conservation and restoration of this
>early plastic?...
>And are there reactions known between the content of Phenol and
>Formaldehyde in the bakelite objects and other objects of
>collections or in storage?

I have experimented with a few pieces. On the whole it seems to be
one of the relatively well-behaved  of the collectible plastics. In
theory formaldehyde  can be given off, but in practice it has not
been a problem in our collections. Phenol  (carbolic acid) appears
to be given off much more readily, its diagnostic odor  is often
readily detectable when phenol formaldehyde plastics are rubbed or
warmed, so any materials known to be sensitive to phenol e.g.
Cellulose acetate  plastics, should not be stored adjacent to
"Bakelite" or Catalin".

Simple  identification  methods tend to be somewhat unreliable but I
will be happy to discuss whether they are suitable for your
artefacts if you contact me with more details.

Julia Fenn
Conservation Department, Royal Ontario Museum
Fax 416-586-8036

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:47
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 14, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-47-013
Received on Wednesday, 8 March, 2000

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