If you are a DIY enthusiast, then the term “resin” should not seem like a foreign concept, considering how commonly it is used.
One of the main reasons it is used for DIY projects is that it is easy to mold and set. While it may look like plastic, it is actually much stronger. Additionally, with resin, it is easy to replicate stone or metal looks which are not possible with traditional plastic.
Resin is naturally occurring and can also be made synthetically. The best part is that most natural and synthetic versions aren’t that different in properties and benefits. So, if you are looking for more information on resin, this is the guide for you.
After careful research on all things resin, we have put together this guide to help you understand this compound a little better. Hopefully, it will clear things up for you.
Now, without further ado, let’s get into some details.
Resin – What Exactly Is It?
- Resin – What Exactly Is It?
- Resin Types And Modern Usage
- What’s The Big Deal About Resin?
- Resin FAQ’s
Let’s get technical for a second. Resin comes from a mix of unique chemical compounds and, as mentioned earlier, is naturally occurring. To use it for everyday projects, resin can be bought from the store in liquid form along with a hardener which turns it into a stronger (and often reusable) resin. Additionally, it can be modified or synthetically created for commercial use.
Some common examples of resin are amber, frankincense, and even hashish. Interestingly, resin is not just derived from plants but also insects. A prominent example of insect-derived resin is shellac.
Uses Through the Ages
The history of resin is quite fascinating, but we will not bore you with too many facts. However, you might find it pretty interesting to know that resins have been around for centuries.
As there were no synthetic resins for jewelry and art back in the day, everything came from nature. Amber was a very popular naturally occurring resin among many cultures as it could be used in beverages and as a kind of drug (similar to cannabis). In Greek culture, specifically, amber was seen as a source of electricity as rubbing it together produced an electric charge.
As you can tell, resins are not a thing of the modern world as they were discovered and used centuries before we existed. However, the modern world has allowed us to explore and even create resins.
Resin Types And Modern Usage
While there are multiple types of resin found and created, all of them can be divided into two categories – thermoset and thermoplastic. While the former is a type that sets once it is cured, the latter includes resins that can be remelted and reused.
In the current market, there are around 12 types of resin that are commonly used. These are made out of different chemical components and are used for varied reasons. Let’s explore some of these reasons below.
Epoxy resin is quite common among DIY enthusiasts as it has excellent adhesion properties. Additionally, it is resistant to heat and chemicals, making it the perfect choice for coatings, lining, adhesives, and laminates. This type of resin is non-recyclable (thermoset) and, once cured, cannot be remelted for further use.
The next popular type of resin with DIYers is silicone resin. This is a non-naturally occurring resin and is made by man as a better alternative to rubber. One of its best qualities is that it’s flexible, resistant to water, and quite stable when put under extreme temperatures.
When used on any surface, it coats it properly and forms a hard shell over this. This is why it is a popular resin as laminates and coating and has the potential to make any surface more durable.
Polyurethane resins, as the name suggests, are made with two different components. This makes it highly versatile and open to being combined with other resins. Furthermore, by combining it, it only becomes better as it can increase elasticity and adhesion. For this reason, it is mainly used as clothes liners, adhesives, and insulation.
If you are looking for a low-cost resin with excellent properties, this is the one to use. Polyester resins are usually resistant to pretty much everything – heat, water, and chemicals. Since it is not as expensive as the others, it is pretty standard in multiple industries.
Apart from DIYers using it for decorating purposes, it is used commercially as well. Many construction companies and repair companies use it.
Unlike Epoxy resin, acrylic resin can be melted and reused even after it is cured. An added advantage is that acrylic resin can handle a lot of pressure and is UV resistant. For these reasons, it is ideal to be used as coatings, adhesives, and even for decorative purposes.
Another great reusable type of resin is Polyamide. Polyamide resins can be reused multiple times, and the best part is that it does not shed any of its defining properties. One of the advantages is that it is a high-density resin with excellent heat resistance.
It is also quite strong, meaning it does not damage easily. This makes it a strong choice during manufacturing tires and gears.
Even the medical industry needs good quality resins, and this is where polypropylene resins come into the picture. Primarily used to make medical equipment, this type of resin is resistant to chemicals. Additionally, it has no color or taste and is free from BPA. Other than medical equipment, it is used to make toys, electricals, and coatings.
Polystyrene resins, much like acrylics, are low cost and hence, quite popular for various purposes. Apart from affordability, it is highly resistant to acid and salts makes it even more appealing. Additionally, it is pretty flexible and is widely used for insulation and to use on dashboards.
Another very common resin is polyethylene which is mass-produced everywhere. Because it is flexible and resistant to chemicals and moisture, many industries choose to use this type of resin. The most common use is packaging, so bags, films, and sheets are manufactured using this resin.
Phenolic is a type of non-reusable resin, just like Epoxy. One of the reasons it cannot be used more than once is because it sets permanently after being cured. Once set, it is resistant to heat and impact, making it ideal for heavy-duty work. It is also chemical and moisture resistant, making it suitable for cement work.
Alkyd resins have been in the market for many years as they have eye-catching properties. This type of resin has excellent resistance to chemicals as well as thermal and electrical properties. First made in the 1920s, this type of resin was widely popular as surface coatings. Now, it is still used in paint, but it can also be used for electrical insulation.
What’s The Big Deal About Resin?
Based on the previous section, it is evident that resin can be used for multiple reasons. It is evident that its properties appeal to everyone, causing them to try out different types of resins for commercial and personal use. Here are some of the reasons people turn towards resins:
One of the biggest reasons is that, despite density, it remains pretty flexible. This is why it can be used for multiple reasons like making jewelry, medical equipment, electrical components, coatings, etc. Moreover, even bigger furniture and trash bins can be made using resins since it can adapt to any situation.
Procuring certain materials, especially metals when making jewelry, can be expensive. This is the main reason why people turn to resins, as it can replicate the look and feel of these metals without costing anyone a fortune.
And the same goes for other materials such as rocks, gemstones, or color glass. It is much easier to use resin since the production cost is low, and it can look like any material.
Apart from being low cost, it is also low maintenance. One of the most significant selling points of resin is that there is no need for regular maintenance (compared to precious stones and metals). Resin-based products are pretty durable and do not get stained quickly.
Moreover, most resins are water, heat, and impact resistant. Hence, the material can protect itself with little to no help.
Resin For 3D Printing And Casting
One of the more modern uses of resins is using it for 3D printing. Since all resins come from polymers, they react under UV light. Moreover, most resins are tough, flexible, and reusable, so changing their state and setting it can be effortless with suitable machines.
Another method of creation is casting. Used widely in the medical industry, resin casting is nothing but putting resin in a cast and letting it set in the shape of the cast. Once fully set, it will easily slip off the mold.
Are Resins As Strong As Wood?
This entirely depends on the resin and wood in question. In general, resin is known to be stronger since it is impact-resistant, making it much more durable. Thus, most DIYers tend to coat wooden projects with resin for added protection.
How Is Resin Different From Plastic?
Although it may seem like they are similar materials, resin and plastic are quite different – right from their chemical makeup. Moreover, since resins are derived mainly from plants, it is more natural than plastic.
To Sum It Up
That’s all, folks! We finally come to the end of this guide on resins and how they are used. We have tried to keep it simple to help you understand the world of resins better.
Before signing off, we want to reiterate that resin is quite versatile. It has been used through the ages for multiple purposes and is still used in almost every industry. The fact that it is lightweight, flexible, and affordable makes it quite appealing for commercial and personal use.
On that note, we shall sign off now. We will back with many more informative guides like this one.
Until next time!