Link to Laminates animation
Click on the screenshot above to view the "Laminates" animation by Laszlo Lipot

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Lamination and Laminates

Lamination is the process of bonding a sheet of material onto another material. Laminates are layers of thin material bonded together with adhesives. 

Plywood is a manufactured board. It is a good example of a laminated material. Plywood consists of a number of layers of thin wood sheets called veneers bonded together to form a board. Plywood always has an odd number of layers, one layer in the middle with one each side; this is 3 ply plywood. 5 ply plywood has one layer in the middle and 2 each side, 7 ply has one in the middle and 3 each side etc.

5 ply plywood

Sometimes a composite material such as chipboard, which has a plain appearance, has a thin sheet of another material laminated onto the surface to enhance its appearance or to improve its physical characteristics, e.g.

  • chipboard may have a wood veneer laminate bonded to the surface to give it the appearance of solid timber.
  • chipboard may have a plastic or stainless steel laminate bonded onto the surface so that it will be water resistant, easy to clean and so that it will be a suitable material for kitchen worktops
Link to Short Grain animation
Click on the screenshot above to view
the "Short Grain" animation by Laszlo Lipot

Complex curved shapes in timber are virtually impossible to produce without laminating timber or using a composite. This is because large sections of timber are very difficult to bend. The drawing  If the shape would be cut from a large piece of timber, it would lose much of its strength because the structure would consist of sections of "short grain".

Other laminates include:

  • paper laminates, corrugated card laminates
  • plastic laminates, fibre glass, carbon fibre, corrugated platic, plastic and fabric laminates; e.g. skis are made from a sandwich of a plastic base and top sheets with a core of wood, carbon fibre, kevlar, fibreglass, aluminium or titanium bonded topgether with epoxy resin.
Copyright Laszlo Lipot.