The following chemical structure is phenolic resin. How is this chemical made?

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1 Answer 1


Here is an experiment that all my students have carried out in the lab.

Make a solution with about $3$ mL $40$% solution of methanal and an equal volume of phenol. Transfer the solution into a small paper cup. Add a equal volume of concentrated $\ce{HCl}$, when stirring with a glas rod. This produces a strong exothermic reaction, and the result is the described phenolic resin, whose common name is bakelite.

  • $\begingroup$ The phenolic resin called bakelite is rather a phenolformaldehyde resin. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ My synthesis is producing a phenol formaldehyde resin, as methanal is also called formaldehyde, $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that is correct. You have initially written methanol, what is understandable as easily done typo. More exactly, it would be rather 40%(probably) solution of methanal, which is itself gaseous. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Mar 14, 2021 at 18:26

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