Formaldehyde polymers have been known for over 100 years. Leo Hendrik Baekeland was the first chemist to patent such a material at the beginning of this century in 1907. Bakelite is a stiff, three dimensional network with very little solubility in organic solvents and a high resistance to electricity and heat. It is used in a wide variety of household objects and electrical fixtures. Phenols condense with formaldehyde under acidic or basic condition; polymerization gives a network of phenol rings held together by methylene groups at the ortho and para positions. These polymers have a broad range of molecular masses in any given sample.

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