What is Resin?
Resin isn’t just a name – it’s something that’s brought revolutionary changes in so many areas – it’s a solution!
But, except for the experts, almost everyone is confused about what resin is! Many people mistakenly think of it as liquid plastic/polymer. “Resin” is not just plastic – a far different organic compound (can be synthetically produced too). It contains noncrystalline and viscous liquid substances, which are fusible and flammable. Primarily transparent or translucent, but can have added color. For adhesion and durability, it requires support from another substance known as “Hardener”. That’s why when you buy resins, they come in two different forms, one of which is the hardener. When mixed in instructed ratio and put in particular conditions, these two form a final compound – the real resin. Once the mixture dries, you get a durable and robust plastic with a plethora of applications.
Chemistry of Resin – What is Resin Made of
We get a plethora of information about resin chemistry, thanks mainly to researches on it. But such abundance has made the whole thing confusing instead of straightforward. However, the integrated presentation of all the information can make it easier. And by doing so, we can see that the following three are the proximate constituents of resins in one way or another.
- Resin Acids
- Resin Esters, including their Decomposition Products
- Resenes, i.e., the inert chemical compounds
Resins are made of synthetic or plant origins that you can easily convert into polymers. The polymers are thermosetting in where every molecule consists of a single resin group. To attain the ideal viscosity for resin use, you can change the chemical properties.
For a resin to harden, one needs to use a curing and usually amine-based agent. The ratio of the hardener and the resin needs to go hand in hand. Sometimes, a polymer is added to the resin to make it stronger for better application. There are various types of resin, with epoxy being the strongest one. It consists of Bisphenol A and Novolac, which are durable components making it easier to withstand vast mechanical pressure and is therefore ideal for vast applications. With epoxy resin, the ratio should be higher than other resins due to its strength. Sometimes, the thermoplastic polymer is added to strengthen the resin further.
It’s been discussed elsewhere. To check details, you can check this write-up.
What is Resin Used for?
Being a versatile product, one can use resin in numerous ways. For example, one can use it to make plastics, seal the wood, durable castings, and it is also an excellent adhesive. Other may include:
Floorings: Resin can create durable, smooth, and impermeable floors on the garages and basements.
Boat repair: Resin (Marine epoxies) is handy in patching up a boat.
Wood repair: In case of a rotten beam, broken railing, or chipped furniture, one can use polyurethane resin to bring it up to shape.
Walkaways: To those with pebble walkways on the front yard, resins can keep the stones in place.
Others: Resins have many other applications, i.e., numerous DIY projects, outdoor structures, arts, crafts, and industrial purposes.
Toxicity and Danger
Resin (mainly waterborne) is usually non-toxic and poses minimal threats if you accidentally inhale, touch, or ingest. However, not all resins are safe despite having excellent service records, for instance, oil resins, so safety precautions need to be put in place while dealing with them. The resin used in most applications like 3D printing is toxic, not only to humans but to the surroundings too. If body parts are exposed to resin, they can get harmed. And if not well handled, resins can harm the environment and animals.
Durability of Resin
Resins come with varying durability depending on their types. Epoxy resin is the most durable and can withstand intense pressures. While durability depends on the type, they are all durable and act as a protective coating over various surfaces like wood. They are also durable when used to bond wood pieces with great strength.
Resin and 3D printing
When it comes to 3D printing, resin and filaments are the common materials. We have two types of 3D printers. One printer uses light to cure the liquid while the other one melts a plastic-resin filament to build a product layer by layer. One can also make plastic parts coming with accuracy and high resolution. Resin 3D printing also produces smooth finishes and fine details on various surfaces. Due to the vast resin types available for 3D printing, one can use multiple applications in different industries. For example, the standard resin is helpful in general prototyping.
Casting with Resin
Resin casting is a form of plastic casting where one needs to fill a mold with a synthetic resin made of plastic. The resin later hardens. The casting is usually used in small-scale production like dentistry and prototypes. Casting resin incorporates a low viscosity resin containing two components. A reaction may take place that later leads to the mass hardening for a while.
Shortcomings of Resin
Even though resins incorporate a copious volume of advantages, including easy application, they never lack some cons. some of their shortcomings include:
- Some of the resins are toxic to humans, animals, and the environment
- For a fast polymerization reaction, you need to be quick
- Some are sensitive and need keen storage as some can react negatively to light or moisture
- Casting resins need you to remain accurate on components
- Low volume casting is hard and pricey
- The resin may wear off faster compared to metal filings
- Can degrade while exposed to alcoholic contents and drinks
Resin vs Plastic – What’s the Difference?
- The main difference between the two products is that resin’s origin is more natural since they come from plant oozes. On the other hand, plastics are synthetic polymeric. In short, plastics are semi-synthetic.
- While the resin is a form of unprocessed plastic, on the other hand, plastic is a final product that needs to be used further.
- Slid resin is more versatile while it comes to use and formation. It is also easier to repair as they aren’t part of solid plastic.
- Resin is a sticky hydrocarbon secretion from numerous plants like coniferous trees, while plastic is a molder and a sculptor.
Resin vs Glue – Different or Same?
The main difference between glue and resin is the drying time. Both the glue and the resin need mixing before use, but resin will dry faster than the glue. For example, the glue will take like 8 or 10 hours while resin takes an utmost of 30 minutes to dry.
While the glue is protein-based on bones, the resin is an Acrylate. Resin can break down in the water if left for long, while glue easily breaks down after a short while. Also, resin dries to leave a clear finish where glue will dry to leave a dull and cloudy finish.
What is a Good Substitute for Resin?
The ideal substitute for the resin is hard plaster or concrete. The material is cheaper than most resins, and they are low-cost materials, especially for larger pieces. If you have issues with the fumes, you can choose epoxy resin when dealing with art and crafts.
Does Resin Decompose?
Most synthetic resins come from fossils and are not biodegradable. You can only burn them under strict measures to avoid substances in the environment. Once you activate the resin cures, the product can last for years without decomposing. However, avoid keeping them under direct sunlight or heat to prevent the resin from becoming brittle.
There you have it. You no longer need to feel confused when it comes to resin. With all the above information, you can now confidently buy and use it.