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Bakelite is the tradename of a synthetic resin discovered by the Belgian-born chemist Leo Baekeland, made by the condensation reaction of methanal (formaldehyde) and phenol to form large polymer molecules. It is a thermosetting plastic – in fact, the first modern synthetic plastic ever made (1909). A hard, strong material, it is used as an electrical insulator, an adhesive, and a paint binder.

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