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Insect trapped in resin
Resin of a pine

Resin is a hydrocarbon secreted by many plants, especially coniferous trees.

Plants evolved many complex chemicals as defences against herbivores. That may be the origin of these resins, which are certainly not good to eat.

Humans value them for their chemical constituents and uses. They are used in varnishes, adhesives, as raw materials for organic synthesis, or for incense and perfume. Fossilized resins are the source of amber. The term is also used for synthetic substances with similar properties.

Rosin[change | change source]

Rosin, (also called 'colophony' or 'Greek pitch') is a solid form of resin. It is got from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers. Heating fresh liquid resin vaporizes light volatiles like terpenes.

Rosin is semi-transparent and yellow to black in colour.[1] The term "colophony" comes from colophonia resina or "resin from the pine trees of Colophon", an ancient Ionic city.

Uses[change | change source]

Rosin has hundreds of uses, of which only a few can be mentioned here. These uses fall into groups, such as:

  1. Resisting slippages (increasing friction): used on stringed instruments, dancers' shoes, in gymnastics, in rock climbing, and on hands of various types of games players.
  2. In manufacturing soap, inks, some paints, paper, varnish, glue, soldering fluxes, and sealing wax.
  3. Pharmaceutical products: tablet film and enteric coating, microcapsules and nanoparticles.
  4. Copal and amber are natural rosins: the lighter components of tree resin evaporated and left a hardened rosin.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fiebach, Klemens; Grimm, Dieter (2000). "Resins, natural". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. doi:10.1002/14356007.a23_073. ISBN 978-3-527-30673-2.
A cake of rosin can be used by violinists or for soldering