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Trip the Bakelite fantastic

Chemistry pupils will be able to learn about the science behind hundreds of different plastics, from polythene to nylon and PVC, at a new Science Museum exhibition.

The show, celebrating 100 years of plastics, will trace the history of the revolutionary material, from when Dr Leo Baekeland created Bakelite a century ago.

Suitable for pupils aged 14 and over, it will feature original archives and memorabilia from the inventor's life. The exhibits include an Ecko Bakelite radio and a Bic pen chandelier.

The exhibition will examine the future development and use of plastics in areas such as medicine and packaging. It is also the first time the Toyota I-Unit polymer car will be shown in the UK.

The exhibition, which is now taking school bookings, starts on May 22 and will last for 18 months.

* www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

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