Natural resin is a solid or semi-solid material that occurs as a plant secretion, such as pine sap. Synthetic resins, which can be manufactured chemically, are generally more stable than natural sources. Resin products are used in a multitude of everyday items ranging from paint, varnish, and building materials to plastic, jewelry, art, furniture and medicine.
Synthetic liquid resin is found in specialty coatings, inks, paints and sealants. Coating products containing resin offer greater durability, better adhesion and greater chemical and corrosion resistance than do non-resin products. Most paints will adhere to wood, yet resin paints also adhere well to more difficult surfaces such as metal, plastic film and glass. Liquid resin products are also used for windshield repairs.
Homeowners who engage in do-it-yourself projects invariably use resin products. It may be found in the paint they choose for the exterior, in the coating for their new hardwood floor, or building materials for a new fence or deck. Resin decks and fences are more expensive than wood, but require virtually no maintenance. Unlike wood, the color baked into the resin will not fade, chip or splinter when exposed to sun, rain and snow.
Once the home improvement projects are completed, a person can relax on a variety of resin products, such as chairs, picnic tables and playground equipment. Bar stools, benches, wicker rockers, coffee tables, and storage boxes are more examples of the furniture made from this versatile substance. Another advantage of plastic resin products is that they can be recycled, reducing the amount of waste destined for landfills.
Resin has even entered the medical field. In the past, most dental fillings and crowns were made of silver or gold. Composite resin fillings which are colored to match the surrounding teeth were created as an attractive alternative to metal. They are strong and durable, and some insurance companies will pay the additional cost if the tooth being treated is near the front of the mouth where the filling or crown will be visible. Resin is also used in dental cement and bridges.
Some medications which reduce cholesterol contain bile binding resins. These drugs bind with bile released from the liver, preventing it from being absorbed through the intestines and into the body. Since bile is primarily composed of cholesterol, the resin products essentially reduce the body’s supply of cholesterol. Other resin containing medications help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or provide topical treatment for genital warts.
Artists and craftsmen also use a variety of resin products. Acrylic resins can be mixed with water and poured into silicone rubber molds to make models, statues, vases and other objects. When they dry, they have a sound similar to ceramics, yet do not require the baking and curing time of ceramics. Casting resins are available in both urethane and polyurethane.