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Bakelite Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jun 10, 2024, 11:43

In the IELTS Reading section, your reading comprehension skills are tested. Lasting for 60 minutes, this segment comprises three passages, each accompanied by a series of questions spanning various formats like multiple choice, matching headings, and True/False/Not Given. Success here hinges on your ability to grasp key information, discern main ideas, and infer meaning from context.

 

To ace the IELTS Reading section, adopt effective reading strategies such as skimming for main ideas and scanning for specific details. Regular practice with sample questions and exposure to different question types will sharpen your skills for test day. 

 

Prepare for an enlightening exploration of Bakelite, a pioneering synthetic material that reshaped the modern plastic industry. Delve into its history, properties, and impact through engaging passages and accompanying questions, enriching your understanding of this groundbreaking innovation.

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1. Bakelite Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 15 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. 

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2. Bakelite Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Bakelite

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1.

Bakelite Reading Passage

General Information

  • Ensure to carefully read the instructions for each question and respond accordingly.
  • The complexity of the reading passages will escalate as you advance through the test.
  • Skimming and scanning the passage is pivotal for achieving a high score in the reading section.
  • Manage your time judiciously to ensure ample time for answering all questions.
  • Electronic devices, including mobile phones, are prohibited in the test room.

 

 

 

 

BAKELITE - The birth of modern plastics

 

Paragraph 1

 

In 1907, a Belgian scientist named Leo Hendrick Baekeland working in New York, discovered and patented a new revolutionary synthetic substance. His invention, which he named ‘Bakelite’, was of great technological importance and led to the launch of the modern plastic industry.

 

Paragraph 2

 

The word ‘plastic’ originated from the Greek word plassie, which means ‘to mould’. Plastics can be derived from natural sources. Some plastics are semi-synthetic, which is a result of chemical action on a natural substance. Some types of plastics are entirely synthetic, i.e., chemically engineered from the components of coal or oil. Plastics have a ‘thermoplastic’ behaviour, which means that they melt when heated and can then be reshaped like candle wax. Few others have ‘thermosetting’ characteristics like eggs. They cannot go back to their original state, and their shape does not change forever. Bakelite became the first totally synthetic thermosetting plastic.

 

Paragraph 3

 

The history of today’s plastics dates back to the mid-19th century with the discovery of a series of semi-synthetic thermoplastic materials. The need for the development of these early plastics was due to many factors, like immense technological progress in the domain of chemistry, along with wider cultural changes and the practical requirements to discover suitable substitutes for decreasing supplies of luxury items like tortoiseshells and ivory. 

 

Paragraph 4

 

Baekeland has been interested in plastics since 1885. As a young chemistry student in Belgium, he started researching phenolic resins - a group of sticky substances produced when phenol (carbolic acid) combines with an aldehyde (a volatile fluid similar to alcohol). However, He stopped the subject, only returning to it some years later. He became a wealthy New Yorker in 1905 after he had made his fortune with the invention of a new photographic paper. While Baekeland had been busy making money, some innovations had been made to develop plastics. The first semi-synthetic thermosetting material was patented between 1899 and 1900 and could be made on an industrial scale. In scientific terms, Baekeland’s work in this field does not contribute so much to the actual discovery of the material to which he gave his name but rather how the reaction between phenol and formaldehyde could be controlled to make its preparation possible on an industrial level. Baekeland took out his famous patent with the preparation and the essential features on 13 July 1907, which are still in use today.

 

Paragraph 5

 

The original patent was a process that had 3 stages, where phenol and formaldehyde (from wood or coal) were first mixed inside a vacuum in a large round kettle. A resin was formed from it known as Novalak, which becomes soluble and malleable when heated. Then the resin was let to cool in small trays until it became hard, and then was smashed and ground into powder. Other substances (fillers) like wood flour, asbestos or cotton were introduced, which increase strength and moisture resistance, catalysts and hexa (a compound of ammonia and formaldehyde which supplied the additional formaldehyde necessary to form a thermosetting resin). The resin was then given time to cool and harden and was again powered for a second time. This granular powder is the raw Bakelite, which can be made into numerous types of solid objects. In the final stage, the Bakelite is heated and poured into a hollow mould with the required shape and is exposed to extreme heat and pressure, and setting its form forever.

 

Paragraph 6

 

From chairs to TV sets, the design of Bakelite objects was governed to a large extent by the technical needs of the moulding process. The object cannot be designed, so it is locked into the mould and is tough to extract. A common rule was that objects should move towards the deepest part of the mould, and if necessary, the piece was moulded as separate pieces. Moulds should be carefully designed so that the molten Bakelite can flow properly and evenly into the shape. Sharp corners were not practical, so it had to be removed, giving rise to the smooth, ‘streamlined’ style which was popular in the 1930s. Thick walls take longer to cool and harden. The thickness of the walls of the mould was very crucial -  a factor which had to be taken into consideration by the designer to make the most out of the machines. 

 

Paragraph 7

 

Baekeland’s invention was treated with arrogance by the public in the early years. But it gained unmatched popularity which lasted throughout the first half of the 20th century. It became a spectacular invention for the industrial expansion of the New World. It was described as a material of a thousand uses. Bakelite, being non-porous and heat-resistant, was used to manufacture kitchen goods and was advertised as being sterilisable and germ-free. Electrical manufacturers caught on to its electricity-insulating properties, and people admired its bright shades of colour, at last, delighted that they were no longer restricted to the wood tones and dark brown colours of the pre-plastic era. In the 1950s it then became unpopular and was neglected and destroyed in large quantities. Recently, it again gained popularity with more requirements for original Bakelite products in the collectors’ marketplace, and museums, societies. People once again appreciated the style and originality of this innovative material. 

2.

Bakelite Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Bakelite

Questions and Answers 1-5

  • Complete the sentences below.
  • Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR NUMBERS from the passage for each answer.

 

  1. The history of today’s plastics dates back to the mid ________ with the discovery of a series of semi-synthetic thermoplastic materials. 
  2.  In 1907, a Belgian scientist named _________, working in New York, discovered and patented a new revolutionary synthetic substance.
  3. The word ‘plastic’ originated from the Greek word ________, which means ‘to mould’.
  4. A resin was formed from it known as ________, which becomes soluble and malleable when heated.
  5. Bakelite being ________ and heat-resistant, was used to manufacture kitchen goods and were advertised as being sterilisable and germ-free.

 

Bakelite Reading Answers with explanations (1 - 5)

 

Type of question: Sentence Completion

 

To answer sentence completion questions accurately, read the given sentence carefully and identify the missing word or phrase. Then, consider the context to determine the most suitable answer option that completes the sentence appropriately. Choosing the option that best fits the context will help you answer sentence completion questions accurately.

 

How to best answer the question

 

  • Carefully read the incomplete sentence and try to understand what information is missing.
  • Pay attention to the context and any clues provided in the sentence or the surrounding text.
  • Choose the option that best completes the sentence based on the information from the reading passage.

 

 

1. 19th century

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 3

The history of today’s plastics dates back to the mid-19th century with the discovery of a series of semi-synthetic thermoplastic materials.
 

Keywords

Discovery, Semi-synthetic thermoplastic materials

 

Explanation

The phrase clearly states that the history of today's plastics dates back to the mid-19th century.


 

2. Leo Hendrick Baekeland

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph  1

In 1907, a Belgian scientist named Leo Hendrick Baekeland working in New York, discovered and patented a new revolutionary synthetic substance.

 

Keywords

Belgian scientist, working, synthetic substance, revolutionary

 

Explanation

This sentence directly names Leo Hendrick Baekeland as the Belgian scientist who made the discovery in 1907.


 

3. Plassei

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 2

The word ‘plastic’ originated from the Greek word plassie, which means ‘to mould’.

 

Keywords

Greek, mould, originated

 

Explanation

This sentence provides the Greek origin of the word 'plastic' as 'plassein.'

 

 

4. Novalak

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 5

A resin was formed from it known as Novalak, which becomes soluble and malleable when heated.

 

Keywords

Soluble, malleable, heated, resin

 

Explanation

This line specifically mentions Novalak as the resin that becomes soluble and malleable when heated.


 

5. Non-porous

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 7

Bakelite, being non-porous and heat-resistant, was used to manufacture kitchen goods and was advertised as being sterilisable and germ-free.

 

Keywords

Non-porous, heat-resistant, manufacture, advertised

 

Explanation

The text explicitly describes Bakelite as non-porous and heat-resistant, which makes it suitable for manufacturing kitchen goods.

Questions and Answers 6-10
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 6-10 on your answer sheet, write.

  • YES if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer
  • NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
  • NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

 

6. Plastics cannot be derived from natural sources.

7. Moulds should be carefully designed so that the molten Bakelite could flow properly and evenly into the shape.

8. Baekeland’s invention gained popularity in the first half of the twentieth century.

9. Novalak is soluble and malleable when heated.

10. Baekeland didn't realise the bad effects of plastic on the environment.

 

Bakelite Reading Answers with Explanation (7 - 10)

 

 

Question Type: Agree/Disagree/Not Given

 

In this task, you are presented with a statement, and your task is to determine if it agrees with the information in the passage (true), contradicts the information in the passage (false), or if there is insufficient information in the passage to make a determination (not given).

 

How to best answer:

 

  • Understand the missing information outlined in the summary.
  • Identify key terms and phrases from the summary in the main passage to locate the missing words.
  • Ensure that the words you select from the passage match the context provided in the summary.
  • Finalise your answers by confirming that the chosen words accurately complete the missing parts of the summary.


 

6. No

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 2

Plastics can be derived from natural sources. Some plastics are semi-synthetic, which is a result of chemical action on a natural substance. 

 

Keywords

Natural sources, chemical action, result

 

Explanation

The paragraph clearly states that plastics can indeed be derived from natural sources, contradicting the statement.


 

7. Yes

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 6

Moulds should be carefully designed so that the molten Bakelite can flow properly and evenly into the shape. 

 

Keywords

Designed, molten bakelite, flow, shape

 

Explanation

The statement is a direct quote from the passage, confirming that careful design of moulds is necessary for proper flow and even shaping of Bakelite.


 

8. Yes

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 7

Baekeland’s invention was treated with arrogance by the public in the early years. But it gained unmatched popularity which lasted throughout the first half of the 20th century.

 

Keywords

Arrogance, popularity, first half

 

Explanation

The passage explicitly states that Baekeland's invention gained significant popularity during the first half of the twentieth century.


 

9. Yes

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 5

A resin was formed from it known as Novalak, which becomes soluble and malleable when heated.

 

Keywords

Resin, heated, soluble, malleable

 

Explanation

The passage describes Novalak as becoming soluble and malleable upon heating, directly supporting the statement.


 

10. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 

Not provided in the passage.

 

Keywords

NA

 

Explanation

The passage does not discuss Baekeland's awareness or lack thereof regarding the environmental impact of plastics, making it impossible to determine the writer's view on this matter.

Questions and Answers 11-15
  • Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/ OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

 

11. _______ is a compound of ammonia and formaldehyde.

12. Synthetic plastics can be made from ________ or oil.

13. Bakelite had electricity ________ properties.

14. Bakelite is sterilisable and ________.

15. ________ style which was popular in the 1930s.


 

Bakelite Reading Answers with Explanation (11 - 15)

 

Type of question: Note Completion

 

In this task, you are required to fill in the missing words or phrases based on the information provided in the passage. This task evaluates the ability to understand specific details and main ideas from the text.

 

How to best answer the question:

 

  • Carefully read the provided passage and understand the main ideas and details presented. 
  • When filling in the missing words or phrases, refer back to the passage to ensure that the answers are directly supported by the information provided. 
  • Pay attention to context and use your critical thinking skills to choose the most appropriate words or phrases that best complete the passage.

 

11. Hexa

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 5

Other substances (fillers) like wood flour, asbestos or cotton were introduced, which increase strength and moisture resistance, catalysts and hexa (a compound of ammonia and formaldehyde which supplied the additional formaldehyde necessary to form a thermosetting resin). 

 

Keywords

Strength, Moisture, formaldehyde

 

Explanation

The answer is found in this paragraph, which describes the compound hexa as "a compound of ammonia and formaldehyde," fulfilling the question's requirement.


 

12. Coal

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph  5

The original patent was a process that had 3 stages, where phenol and formaldehyde (from wood or coal) were first mixed inside a vacuum in a large round kettle. 

 

Keywords

Patent, 3 stages, mixed, vacuum
 

Explanation

The passage mentions that phenol and formaldehyde can be derived from "wood or coal," thus providing the answer to the question.


 

13. Insulating

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 7

Electrical manufacturers caught on to its electricity-insulating properties, and people admired its bright shades of colour, at last, delighted that they were no longer restricted to the wood tones and dark brown colours of the pre-plastic era

 

Keywords

Bright shades of colours, pre-plastic era

 

Explanation

The passage states that Bakelite had "electricity insulating properties," matching the requirement of the question.


 

14. Germ-free

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 7

Bakelite, being non-porous and heat-resistant, was used to manufacture kitchen goods and was advertised as being sterilisable and germ-free. 
 

Keywords

Kitchen goods, advertised

 

Explanation

The passage mentions that Bakelite was advertised as "sterilisable and germ-free," meeting the criteria for the answer.

 

15. Streamlined

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 6

Sharp corners were not practical, so it had to be removed, giving rise to the smooth, ‘streamlined’ style which was popular in the 1930s.

 

Keywords

Not practical, removed, smooth, 1930s

 

Explanation

The passage describes the "streamlined" style as popular in the 1930s, providing the correct answer.

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FAQs

Q. How many passages are there in the reading section of IELTS?

Ans. There are three passages in the reading section of the IELTS test. Each passage is followed by a series of questions that test various reading skills such as skimming, scanning, and comprehension. It's important to efficiently manage your time to read and answer questions for all three passages within the allocated time.

Q. How much time do I have to complete the reading section?

Ans. You have 60 minutes to complete the reading section in the IELTS test. This time includes the reading of the passages and answering the accompanying questions. It's essential to manage your time effectively to allocate enough time to each passage and not run out of time before completing all the questions.

Q. Can I write on the question paper during the reading section?

Ans. Yes, you can write on the question paper during the reading section of the IELTS. It's common practice to make notes, underline key information, and write down important details while reading the passages. This can help you in effectively managing and organising information while answering the questions.