At their core, phenolics (also sometimes referred to as paper phenolic) is a very specific type of material that is typically used to make printed circuit board substrates, among other things. They’re characterized by their very tough construction of wood fibre and phenolic polymers and these qualities, coupled with the way that layers of a substrate material are impregnated with resin, make them ideal for use in a wide range of situations all over the world.

Thanks to the fact that phenolics are very resistant to things like extreme heat and pressure, they’re commonly used in items all around us every day – even if we don’t necessarily realize it to begin with. Indeed, phenolic paper has already had an incredible impact on our everyday lives in ways that are certainly worth exploring moving forward.

Paper Phenolic Examples to Know About

One of the most common types of phenolic paper out there is X (Mil-I-24768/12), characterized by its tensile strength of 20,000 PSI and its flatwise compressive strength of 36,000 PSI. This is a general purpose material mainly used for its high mechanical strength and natural color – both of which have been led to its use in everything from terminal boards to structural parts to switch bases, washers, panels and more.

Along the same lines we have XX (Mil-I-24768/11), which offers a tensile strength of 16,000 PSI and a flatwise compressive strength of 34,000 PSI. It’s commonly used for electrical insulation in a variety of environments and thanks to its solid machining properties and fair mechanical strength it is commonly found in switch board panels, relay and switch bases, breaker arms, barriers and more.

Finally, we have XXX (Mil-I-24768/10), with a tensile strength of 15,000 PSI and a flatwise compressive strength of 32,000 PSI. It, too, is often used in electrical insulation thanks to its high humidity resistance and also offers an excellent resistance to splitting, good dimensional stability and other benefits. Because of these qualities, it is commonly found in panel boards, high voltage switches, gears, radios and even television panels. It’s that last point that makes it one of the most common phenolics out there for both personal and professional use, despite the fact that it’s being used in an application that most of us wouldn’t give a second thought to.

The Many Different Applications of Paper Phenolic Material

The running theme throughout all of these phenolics is that they may not be the flashiest types of materials out there, but they’re certainly among the most important. All three examples are mechanical grade materials that are commonly used in the types of transformers that we use to provide us power, the types of industrial laminates used in our structures and in the types of bearings, gears, gaskets and washers that hold our equipment together – both in traditional industrial applications and in terms of their use with the United States military. Even XXX (Mil-I-24768/10), with its use in television panels, helps to make it possible for our HDTV sets to get larger, thinner and less expensive – all at the same time.

In essence, they’re the glue that holds our lives together, from a certain perspective. Without them, the people dedicated to using their own skills and industrial expertise to make our lives better – or, in the case of the military, help keep our lives as safe as possible – wouldn’t just be facing an uphill battle. The jobs they’ve dedicated their lives to doing would largely be impossible, which is why paper phenolic materials are and will always be important whether we think about them every day or not.