Natural resin

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A class of solid materials obtained from excretions from certain trees or shrubs. Sometimes incisions are made in the trees to encourage resin flow. Natural resins are aromatic hydrocarbons that are generally soluble in alcohol or turpentine and insoluble in water. They are clear to translucent thermoplastic resins with a yellow to brown color. Most break with a conchoidal fracture and burn with a sooty flame. Resins are used as varnishes, adhesives, inks and additives in paint media. Common examples are: Rosin, Amber, Copal, Dammar, Kauri, Balsam, Mastic, and Sandarac.

Synonyms and Related Terms

resina natural (Esp.); résine naturelle (Fr.); resina naturale (It)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Optically darken with age
  • Many autofluoresce when aged.
  • May be soluble in alcohols, turpentine, carbon disulfide. Insoluble in water.


Properties of Natural Resins

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens and G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966.
  • Thomas Gregory, The Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Reinhold Publishing, New York, 3rd ed., 1942
  • ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • John S. Mills, Raymond White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heineman, London, 2nd ed., 1994
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998