A laminate is an element created by joining two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which usually refers to sandwiching something between layers of plastic and sealing them with heat and/or pressure.
The materials used in laminates can be the same or different . For example, by utilizing a layer of plastic film either side of a sheet of glass, the glass is said to be the laminated subject. The plastic is said to be the laminate.
Examples of laminate materials include Formica and plywood. Formica and similar plastic laminates are often referred to as High-Pressure Decorative Laminate as they are created with heat and pressure of more than 5 lbf. Laminating paper, such as pictures, can prevent them from becoming wrinkled, sun damaged, wrinkled, stained, smudged, abraded and/or marked by grease, fingerprints, and environmental concerns. Photo identification cards and credit cards are almost always laminated with plastic film.
All plywoods bind mastic and wood fiber sheets to form a composite element. This alternation of the grain is called cross graining and has several important benefits: it reduces the current of wood to split when nailed at the edges; it reduces expansion and shrinkage, providing improved dimensional stability; and it makes the strength of the panel consistent across all directions. There is usually an odd number of plies so that the sheet is balanced—this reduces warping. Because plywood is bonded with grains running against one another and with an odd number of composite parts, it is very hard to bend it perpendicular to the grain direction of the surface ply.
Smaller thinner plywoods and lower quality plywoods (see Average-quality plywood photo below and right) may only have their plies (layers) arranged at right angles to each other, though some better quality plywood products will by design have five plies in steps of 45 degrees (0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees), giving strength in multiple axes.