Melamine formaldehyde resin

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Melamine plate and bowl
MFA 1996.131.1-3


'Boonton' dishes
MFA 2010.539

A thermosetting Amino resin that is made by reacting melamine with Formaldehyde. First made in 1933 by CIBA, melamine formaldehyde resins were most often used for molded plastic products and were filled with Cellulose, Wood flour, or mineral powders. They produce a hard, high gloss plastic that was used for utensils, containers, dishware (Melmac) and countertops (Formica®). Melamine formaldehyde resins are also used for Plywood, textile sizing, leather processing, and paper strengthening. They are resistant to water and biodegradation.

Synonyms and Related Terms

melamine; amino resin; melamine-formaldehyde resin

Commercial products: Melamine; Melmac; Meladur; Prolon; Formica® [Formica]; Texasware; Boontonware

Formica on Server
MFA#: 93.1108


  • Evolves formaldehyde and ammonia as it degrades.
  • May fade or discolor
  • Scratches easily

Physical and Chemical Properties

Resistant to water, acids, bases and organic solvents. Density = 1.5


General Characteristics of Polymers

Physical Properties for Selected Thermoset Resins

Resources and Citations

  • History of Plastics: .. commercial processes for melamine synthesis patented in 1933 (CIBA) and 1946 (DUPONT).
  • Sharon Blank, An introduction to plastics and rubbers in collections, Studies in Conservation, 35, 53-63, 1990 Comment: Introduced in 1934
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002