Leo Baekeland

Leo Baekeland

Infobox Person
name=Leo Hendrik Baekeland


caption=(1863-1944)
birth_date=November 14 1863
birth_place=Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium
death_date=Dda|1944|2|23|1863|11|14
death_place=Beacon, NY, USA
known_for=plastics research
occupation=chemist/inventor

Leo Hendrik Baekeland (Sint-Martens-Latem (near Ghent), November 14, 1863 - February 23, 1944) was a Belgian chemist who invented Velox photographic paper (1893) and Bakelite (1907), an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plasticcite web
url=http://www.chemheritage.org/classroom/chemach/plastics/baekeland.html
title=Chemical Achievers: Leo Hendrik Baekeland
publisher=Chemical Heritage Foundation
date=2005
accessdate=2007-11-08
] cite web
url=http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/baekeland.html
title=Time 100: Leo Baekeland
first=Ivan
last=Amato
date=1999-03-29
accessdate=2007-11-08
] .

Born in Sint-Martens-Latem near Ghent, Belgium, Baekeland was the son of a cobbler and a maid. Upon completing his doctorate at the University of Ghent, he emigrated to America in 1889.

Baekeland sold his patent for Velox photographic paper to the president of Kodak, George Eastman, for $1,000,000.

The invention of Bakelite is the beginning of the Age of Plastics. Bakelite was made from phenol (then known as carbolic acid) and formaldehyde. These can be mixed, heated, and then either molded or extruded. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry winning German Adolf von Baeyer had experimented with this material in 1872, but did not complete its development. Bakelite took the industry by storm after 1907.

Bakelite was the first plastic invented that held its shape after being heated. Radios, telephones and electrical insulators were made of Bakelite because of its properties of insulation and heat-resistance. Soon it penetrated nearly all branches of industry.

The invention of Bakelite

When asked why he entered the field of synthetic resins, Baekeland answered "to make money". His first objective was to find a replacement for shellac (made from the excretion of lac beetles). Chemists had begun to recognize that many of the natural resins and fibers were polymers. Baekeland began to investigate the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde. He first produced a soluble phenol-formaldehyde shellac (called "Novolak" that never became a market success). Then he turned to developing a binder for asbestos, which at that time was molded with rubber. By controlling the pressure and temperature applied to phenol and formaldehyde, he could produce his dreamed-of hard moldable plastic: bakelite. The official name of Bakelite is polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride.

Decline and death

As Baekeland got older, he became more eccentric, getting into fierce battles with his son (and presumptive heir) over salary and other issues. He sold the General Bakelite Company to Union Carbide in 1939, and at his son's prompting, he retired. He became a recluse, eating all of his meals from cans and becoming obsessed with developing an immense tropical garden on his Florida estate. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in a sanatorium in Beacon, New York. Baekeland is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York [ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7704571 Find A Grave Memorial: L. Baekeland] ] .Leo Baekeland was the grandfather of Brooks Baekeland, whose wife Barbara Daly Baekeland was murdered by their son, Antony in 1972.

Name

Baekeland told "The Literary Digest": "The name is a Dutch word meaning 'Land of Beacons,' " Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)

ee also

* Bakelite
* Bakelite Museum
* Plastics

References

External links

* [http://www.chemheritage.org/classroom/chemach/plastics/baekeland.html Chemical Achievers: Leo Hendrik Baekeland]
* [http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/baekeland.html The Time 100: Leo Baekeland]
* [http://juliensart.be/bakeliet Virtual Bakelite Museum of Ghent 1907-2007]
* [http://www.bakelitemuseum.de A virtual Bakelite museum with a short biography of Leo Baekeland]
* [http://www.baekelandfonds.com The Baekeland fund]

Further reading

* cite encyclopedia
last = Farber
first = Eduard
title = Baekeland, Leo Hendrik
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 385
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date= 1970
isbn = 0684101149


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leo Baekeland — Leo Baekeland. Leo Hendrik Baekeland (Gante, 14 de noviembre de 1863 – Beacon, Nueva York, 23 de febrero de 1944) fue un químico estadounidense, de origen belga, que inventó el papel fotográfico Velox ( …   Wikipedia Español

  • Leo Baekeland — Leo Hendrik Baekeland, né en 1863 à Gand et mort en 1944, est un chimiste américain d origine belge, connu pour ses recherches en photographie et sur les matières plastiques. Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leo Baekeland — Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Leo Hendrik Baekeland (* 14. November 1863 in Gent; † 23. Februar 1944 in Beacon, New York) war ein belgisch amerikanischer Chemiker und Erfinder. Baekeland entwickelte in den Jahren 1905–1907 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leo Baekeland — Leo Hendrik Baekeland (14 de noviembre de 1863 23 de febrero de 1944), fue un químico nacido en Bélgica pero nacionalidado norteamericano que inventó el papel fotográfico Velox (1893) y la baquelita (1907), un plástico barato, no inflamable,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Leo Hendrik Baekeland — Leo Baekeland Leo Baekeland Leo Hendrik Baekeland, né en 1863 à Gand et mort en 1944, est un chimiste belge, connu pour ses recherches en photographie et sur les matières plastiques. Biogra …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leo Baekelandt — Leo Baekeland Leo Baekeland Leo Hendrik Baekeland, né en 1863 à Gand et mort en 1944, est un chimiste belge, connu pour ses recherches en photographie et sur les matières plastiques. Biogra …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leo — /lee oh/, n., gen. Leonis /lee oh nis/ for 1. 1. Astron. the Lion, a zodiacal constellation between Virgo and Cancer, containing the bright star Regulus. 2. Astrol. a. the fifth sign of the zodiac: the fixed fire sign. See illus. under zodiac. b …   Universalium

  • Leo — ► sustantivo masculino 1 OCULTISMO Quinto signo del zodíaco, representado por un león. ► adjetivo/ sustantivo masculino femenino 2 Se aplica a la persona nacida entre el 23 de julio y el 23 de agosto. TAMBIÉN león * * * leo (del lat. «leo») adj.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Baekeland — Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Leo Hendrik Baekeland (* 14. November 1863 in Gent; † 23. Februar 1944 in Beacon, New York) war ein belgisch amerikanischer Chemiker und Erfinder. Baekeland entwickelte in den Jahren 1905–1907 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leo Hendrik Baekeland — Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Leo Hendrik Baekeland (* 14. November 1863 in Gent; † 23. Februar 1944 in Beacon, New York) war ein belgisch amerikanischer Chemiker und Erfinder. Baekeland entwickelte in den Jahren 1905 bis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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