Formica is a well-known brand name that is often used interchangeably with a type of composite material. The company has been a leader in the development and innovation of decorative laminates and composites since it was founded in 1912. The original product was created as a substitute for mica, an insulating material used in electrical shielding. The name Formica came from the combination of the words “faux” (meaning fake) and “mica.” Today, the Formica company has expanded its ability to mold and form finished sheets of their proprietary product.
Initially, Formica was created by impregnating sheets of Kraft paper with phenolic resin, pressing them together into a molded shape, and then curing the finished product. However, the company’s researchers developed a more efficient process that eliminated the need for layers of impregnated paper. Instead, a thick paste of cellulose powder and phenolic resin was placed between two sheets of impregnated paper to form a press pack. This substance could be shaped and cured in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost.