Resins are basically hydrocarbon secretions of plants, predominantly seen in coniferous trees. Though they are considered futile by most of the people, they find wide application in chemical constituents and other products such as varnishes and adhesives, and even make important source of raw materials for organic synthesis, incense and perfume. Moreover, natural fossilized resins are a vital source of amber. Resins have been known to mankind since ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. They were highly valued for their usage in perfumery and incense employed in religious rites. If you are still wondering what are resins, read on.
What Are Natural Resins
Resins are a sort of viscous liquid, comprising of volatile fluid terpenes, along with dissolved non-volatile solids, which makes them thick and sticky. Some varieties of resins also contain high quantities of resin acids. Different plants produce different types of resin. For instance, Jeffrey Pine and Gray Pine contain high levels of volatile components with negligible or no terpenes. Pine sap has a sharp odor of terpene compounds. Some plants even excrete gum-like substance known as gum resin, which interacts with water and is softer than resin.
Plant resins can differ in opacity and hardness and come in different colors, which range from brown color to transparent or no color. Some resins even contain high amounts of heptane, which is an inflammable substance. Thus, the distillation of such resins poses significant problems, leading to explosion. Synthetic resins can be prepared into polymer, which is much more stable, predictable, and uniform than natural resin. This form of resin is used in making paints and plastics.
Uses Of Resins
- Natural resin drawn from the sangre de drago (literally means blood of Dragon) tree has therapeutic benefits and has been used since ages to heal various disorders in the body.
- The hard transparent resins, such as the copals, dammars, mastic and sandarac, are mainly used for varnishes and cement.
- Rosin, a form of resin, was used by ballet dancers by crushing and applying them to their shoe, so that they do not slip on the floor.
- Softer odoriferous oleoresins like frankincense, elemi, turpentine, copaiba and gum resins, containing essential oils like ammoniacum, asafoetida, gamboge, myrrh and scammony, find application in therapeutic activities and incense. But, resins are difficult to use in aromatherapy, because they are extremely thick and sticky.
- Resin is extensively used in skateboards, as it makes them durable and hence there are few cracks, chipping off or breaking in half, which usually results from the pressure.
- It is used at archeological sites by conservators, to combine delicate items like bones, as it acts inside its molecular structure.
- Resin is used in the making various types of sculptures and other types of artwork.
- In the early 1990s, resin particles were used to make the covers of bowling balls, as it made the ball tackier. This would make strikes easier to achieve, by increasing the ball’s ability to hook in the pins.
- Resin was further applied to the bows of stringed instruments, like violin, sarangi, etc, as it would add friction to the air.