Resin Bonded Paper - R.B.P.
BAYKO Floors

I have always found this to be an interesting topic, which is surprisingly sparsely documented. Anybody familiar with BAYKO will be familiar with Resin Bonded Paper [R.B.P.], even if they're unaware of it - it's what all BAYKO Floors are made of. I've always found R.B.P.'s link with BAYKO to be somewhat anomalous if not actually amusing, given its mainstream, "high tech" use as a key component of computer motherboards and other electronic circuitry. It's strong, resilient, very fire resistant, chemically inert and an electrical insulator - blindfolded, it juggles five live lion cubs while whistling "Dixie", for an encore! Thanks to Gary Birch for the image [below] and this information - except the lion cubs bit!
R.B.P. is still produced today, and is widely available, in a massive range of sizes, from BAYKO Floor thickness up to thicknesses of the order of a metre - try drilling a matrix of 2mm holes through that!!!
The image [right] shows a production line in the PAXOLIN, factory, in 1928. This must have been regarded as the height of modern technology in its day. The material from this line was then remoulded into small electrical insulating components.
Paxolin Line, 1928
R.B.P., as used for BAYKO Floors, has the invulnerability of thermoset plastics, though get down to 1/64th inch [standard BAYKO Floor thickness] or even 1/32nd inch [the earlier, thicker BAYKO Floor examples], they will bend, but are, nonetheless, quite brittle under 'point pressure' - making Floors vulnerable to careless little feet and hands, or, in my case, my dad's size 8s!
If you'd like to know more on Plastics…
The manufacturing process is very much heavy industry. The two necessary ingredients [formaldehyde and phenol resin - i.e. Bakelite ingredients] are put into solution in methylated spirits. The paper is first pulled through this solution [referred to as "varnish" in the trade, then passed through 'very high pressure', 'high temperature' rollers where the chemical magic happens as the meths is driven out, and the two ingredients are forced [and cooked!] together. The R.B.P. is then run through the drier, though I suspect there's quite an element of "tempering" involved [i.e. equalising the temperature across the sheet] to eliminate issues caused by inconsistent cooling, etc. Apparently in the PAXOLIN factory [a supplier to BAYKO and the best known brand name in the field] - south of the border, down Walthamstow way - this dryer was some 75 feet [=22.7 metres] long.
While we all have more damaged BAYKO Floors than we'd like, it's a testament to the resilience of R.B.P., even at this, very much the thinnest end of its range, just how high a percentage has survived the intervening half century or more intact.
As I mentioned above, R.B.P. was used throughout the life of BAYKO, for the manufacture of Floors…
 
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