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linoleum(lĭnō`lēəm), resilient floor or wall covering made of burlap, canvas, or felt, surfaced with a composition of wood flour, oxidized linseed oil, gums or other ingredients, and coloring matter. An English rubber manufacturer, Frederick Walton, patented linoleum in 1863. It replaced Kamptulicon, a costly rubber composition. In the manufacture of linoleum, linseed oil is exposed to the air in a succession of thin films until it is of a rubbery consistency, or it is thickened by heating until it becomes a spongy mass, after which it is ground, mixed with pulverized wood and other ingredients, and then applied to the foundation and rolled smooth. The final process is a thorough seasoning in drying rooms. In inlaid linoleum the pattern is built up from the base in the colors of the design and is therefore permanent. Linoleum is made in several thicknesses and in the form of tiles. It is sometimes surfaced with a durable pyroxylin lacquer. Although large amounts of linoleum are still produced, other materials such as vinyl are now more widely used as floor coverings.
a polymeric floor covering in roll form.
Industrial production of linoleum began in 1864 in Great Britain. Linoleum was originally produced from vegetable oils (linseed, sunflower, and tung oil), cork powder, and other materials applied to a fabric (jute) substrate (it was called glyptal linoleum). In the 1950’s glyptal linoleum was replaced by polyvinyl chloride linoleum because of a shortage of vegetable raw materials (vegetable oils). The new type of linoleum became the most widely used material.
A distinction is made among polyvinyl chloride, glyptal (al-kyd), colloxylin (nitrolinoleum), and rubber (relin) types of linoleum, depending on the basic raw material (binder). Linoleum may be without a substrate (single-layer and multilayer) or with a reinforcing substrate (Pergamyn or fabric) or a sound-insulating substrate. It is produced in plain or multicolored forms (marble-finished, speckled, or patterned).
Linoleum is produced in the form of rolls, which may be 6–20 m long, up to 2 m wide, 1.5–4.0 mm thick. It is attached to a smoothed base by means of polymeric mastics and adhesives. Linoleum floors are sanitary, noise-free, wear-resistant, easy to install, attractive in appearance, and easy to maintain.
Linoleum on a heat- and sound-insulating substrate is used in large-scale housing construction, since it may be installed directly on concrete surfaces. Efficient use of polyvinyl chloride linoleum is achieved through installation of wall-to-wall coverings by joining linoleum panels by hot air welding (using a welding gun) or high-frequency current.
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