Resins are solid or semi-solid amorphous products of complex chemical nature containing many carbon atoms. The word “Resin” is also used to refer to the high-viscosity liquid or semi-solid produced by the polymerization of Resin acids. Resin is created in various forms. It can appear in a solid, powdery, or liquid form. It refers to a broad range of both naturally occurring and manufactured compounds.
Put simply, resin is a thermoplastic that happens to be extremely resilient and versatile. Resin has actually been around for a really long time, but thanks to the advent of modern technology, resin has become relatively inexpensive and accessible to the general public. However, before we get into the specifics let’s have a look at how resin came to be and why it was invented in the first place.
The earliest evidence we have of the use of resin dates back to Ancient Greece. For centuries resin materials from plants have been used for everything from art supplies to wood preservation to fragrances. If you have ever seen a piece of amber, you have seen nature’s version of this liquid. Amber is formed from resin exuded from tree bark, although it is also produced in the heartwood. Resin protects trees by blocking gaps in the bark. Once resin covers a gash or break caused by chewing insects, it hardens and forms a seal.
However chemical resins are fairly recent. The condensation reaction of epoxides and amines can be traced back to the 1930’s. A German man named Paul Schlack patented epoxy resin in 1934. Around the 1930’s and 1940’s different discovery claims over bisphenol-A-based epoxy resins began popping up. One such claim came from Swiss chemist Pierre Castan, who became one of the foremost pioneers of epoxy resins alongside German chemist Paul Schlack.
Types of Resin
- Natural: Natural resins are typically fusible and flammable organic substances that are transparent or translucent and are yellowish to brown in colour. They are formed in plant secretions and are soluble in various organic liquids but not in water.
- Synthetic: Synthetic Resins are produced by the curing of the rigid polymer. When they undergo a curing process, they contain reactive end groups like epoxides or acrylates. Epoxy resin specifically, is created when acidic hydroxy groups interact with a substance called epichlorohydrin. There are numerous types of synthetic resins, the most common being epoxy resin.
- Epoxy Resin: Epoxy resin is a special substance with particularly strong properties. This resin is known for its chemical resistance and its excellent adhesive qualities. If you need a very durable resin product, then epoxy is the best option to consider. Due to its strong finish and good adhesion qualities, this resin is ideal for a wide range of applications.
These days, resin is primarily used for crafting purposes and if you have a look at platforms like Instagram and Pinterest you’ll come across some pretty incredible stuff. Coating wood crafts, especially furniture tops in resin, are extremely common in the woodworking industry. This provides a layer of protection to the workpiece against impact and abrasion, but this practice isn’t limited to wooden surfaces.
A popular application is resin cast figurines which can be painted and coated in near-infinite variations. Resin-coated paintings and even mixed media resin artwork are really common these days, with impressive displays of ingenuity and completely original thinking all around.