Plastic Identification Tool
MF_overzichtsfoto.jpg MF_01.jpg MF_02.jpg



Melamine formaldehyde (MF)

General information


Melamine formaldehyde (MF) is a thermosetting plastic. It does not soften upon heating. MF feels hard and cold and gives a clear sound when tapped upon. It is a semi-synthetic plastic which, although still frequently used in specific applications, was used more in the past than at present. It falls in a higher price range than for instance PE or PS and is not used for disposables. It only exists as an opaque material, usually with a light colour. It often has a high gloss and a high resistance to scratching.


Melamine formaldehyde is available since 1941. Melamine foam is available since circa 1980.

Production, Application, Appearance

Melamine formaldehyde is well-known as stiff picnic and camping ware and children's crockery. It is often used as laminate where paper or linen are soaked in melanine resin forming a hard material (e.g. Formica) which can be pasted onto particle board or another core.


Material properties

Density: 1-1.14 g/cm3; schuim: 0.006-0.011 g/cm3
Melting point: 90-101°C
Glass transition temperature: -

Identification properties

Cell structure (foam): open
Smell: no characteristic smell
Touch: feels hard and cold
Sound: rigid sounds clear; foam sounds squeaky
UV-radiation (when clear): not applicable
Polarizing filters (for clear MF): not applicable



Soiling due to its electrostatic character.


Is not considered a problem plastic.


Surface turns matte.


UV-radiation: Low
Light: Low
Oxygen/Ozone: Low
Temp: Low
RH: Medium

Preventive conservation


UV-RADIATION: avoid extremes
LIGHT: 1 just noticeable change in approx. 300 Mlx.h Avoid high light dose
OXYGEN / OZONE: ambient conditions
TEMP: common indoor conditions 10-30°C
RH: common museum conditions 40-60% RH fluctuations: setpoint ±10% or ±5% when allowing seasonal fluctations between 35-65%

Other names

  • Formica
  • Resopal
  • Abet
  • Basotect
  • Magic Sponge

Am I dealing with...