Laminated thermosetting products consist of fibrous sheet materials combined witha thermosetting resin, usually phenol formaldehyde or melamine formaldehyde. The commonly used sheet materials are paper, cotton fabric, asbestos paper or fabric, nylon fabric, and glass fabric. The usual form is flat sheet, but a variety of rolled tubes and rods is made.
Decorative Laminates. These high-pressure laminates consist of a base of phenolic resin-impregnated kraft paper over which a decorative overlay, such as printed paper, is applied. Over all this is laid a thin sheet of melamine resin. When the entire assemblage is pressed in a hot-plate press at elevated temperatures and pressures, the various layers are fused together and the melamine provides a completely transparent finish, resistant to alcohol, water, and common solvents. This material is widely used for tabletops, counter fronts, wainscots, and similar building applications.
It is customarily bonded to a core of plywood to develop the necessary thickness and strength. In this case, a backup sheet consisting of phenolic resin and paper alone, without the decorative surface, is employed to provide balance to the entire sandwich.