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A solid or semisolid amorphous organic material. Resins are usually high molecular weight materials that fracture conchoidally. Natural resins are clear to translucent brown exudates obtained from trees or insects, such as copal, rosin, sandarac, mastic, dammar, or shellac. Most natural resins are soluble in alcohols, ethers, and carbon disulfide, but insoluble in water. They are used in varnishes, inks and adhesives. Synthetic resins, or polymers, are formed by a chemical reaction between two or more substances. Examples are acrylics, alkyds, vinyls, epoxies, polyesters, polyolefins, phenolics, polystyrene, and cellulose acetate. Synthetic resins are used in plastics, paints, textiles, and adhesives.


Synonyms and Related Terms

résine (Fr.); resina (Esp.; Port.; It.);

Other Properties

Insoluble in water. Most natural resins are soluble in alcohols, ethers and carbon disulfide.

Density 1.018-1.186

Hazards and Safety

Combustible with a strong yellow flame and sooty smoke


Properties of Natural Resins

General Characteristics of Polymers

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988