Biography of Leo Hendrik Baekeland - Inventor Plastic

Leo Hendrik Baekeland, an American chemist Belgian nationals. Baekeland was born in Ghent, Belgium, on November 14, 1863. Bakelit, which its name is taken from Baekeland's name is not actually the first finding because previously he had found the photographic paper called Velox. Baekeland an intelligent student. He likes ngulik, tamper with, try out everything.

He has a doctorate with honors maxima cum laude. Later he taught at the university until 1889. Baekeland has a hobby of traveling and photographing. He often traveled to foreign countries such as the French and English. In 1889, he received a scholarship to study in the United States for three years. Actual scholarship for three years instead decided to settle in the United States until he changed citizenship.

Because of his hobby is like taking pictures, then he got a job in corporate photography. At that time, to print images on paper negatives have to use sunlight. Baekeland thought it would be impractical. Especially if it should print at night or when the weather was raining and the sun does not exist. In the short time he managed to create photographic paper called Velox. With this paper, without any sunlight film can be processed and as a substitute for sunlight is by using light. To support the discovery, in 1893 he founded the photographic paper mill that is named Nepera Chemical Company (Nepera Chemical Company). However, the company is not very long. Six years later he sold the company for one million dollars to Eastman, inventor of the camera.

In 1905, Baekeland began to conduct research. Two years later he "juggle" a building which had been a warehouse into a laboratory located in Yonkers, New York. The cost of construction is to use some money from the sale of its chemical company. In this laboratory he began researching bakelit forming materials.

Baekeland reacting the two types of chemicals are formaldehyde (H2CO) which is a kind of preservatives and phenol (C6H5OH) is a type of germicide. Carefully he heating, control the temperature and pressure. The result, formed a new material that can be bent, twisted, and made a variety of forms. He was named Bakelite (bakelit). Bakelit polymer is a copolymer of monomers the reaction products are more than atu types. Polymers are compounds with large molecular mass formed from the combination of simple molecules (monomers).

In 1910 Baekeland founded the plastics factory as well as a major director until 1939. Bakelit or heat resistant plastic was introduced to the general public. Initially the plastic used to make radio boxes, buttons, billiard balls, and some other items. But, unlike now, where almost everything we encounter is made of plastic. Baekeland died on February 23, 1944 at the age of 81 years in Beacon, New York, USA

Leave a Reply