Rosin, a Valuable Product from Pine Trees

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Rosin, also called colophony or Greek pitch, is a solid form of Pine oleoresin from pine trees, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. It is semi-transparent and varies in color from yellow to black. At room temperature rosin is brittle, but it melts at stove-top temperatures. It chiefly consists of different resin acids, especially abietic acid.

Rosin was identified as gum rosin, wood rosin, tall oil rosin. The production of rosin is 1,270,000 metric tons in 2011. As the data of 2011 from Gum rosin from Forcast, China contributed 68% of production, and wood rosin from and tall oil rosin from EU and USA were contributed 1% and 31%.

According to the specification, the range of colors of gum rosin is from yellow to black. It is a crude raw material used on industrial, on the ordinary application, such as paper making, soap, lubrication oil for stringed instruments.

The applications of rosin are very diverse:

  1. Adhesives and sealants industry. Rosin was widely used as an ingredient of some kind of adhesives; especially in heat meal adhesive, pressure-sensitive adhesive and rubber adhesive. Rosin mainly is used to enhancing the strength, plasticity, and viscosity of adhesive.
  2. Paint and coating industry. Rosin is a basic material for the paint industry because rosin is easy to dissolve in alcohol, gasoline, turpentine, and other organic solvent. Rosin always is converted to resinate, and then refine with drying oil such as tung oil and mix with volatility solvent to produce various lacquers. Rosin also take an important role in producing road coating, rosin firstly converted to rosin malefic ester or polymerized rosin or disproportionated rosin Polyols ester, and then used to make thermoplastic coating for road sign inunction.
  3. Papermaking industry. Most rosins were applied to the papermaking industry as a sizing agent. Rosin paper sizing agent can prevent printing oil soaking and dispersing from paper, improves the strength and smoothness of paper; enhances the anti-abrasion of paper. But crystal rosin is unfit for making paper sizing agent due to difficulty of saponification, subsequently makes spot on the paper; sometimes even makes the pipe jam in paper sizing agent producing.
  4. Printing ink industry. Rosin mainly acts as a color carrier and enhances color adhesive ability in printing ink. It takes about 7% of the quality of printing oil in China. Rosin is converted into modified phenolic rosin with a softening point of 160 to 175 Celsius degrees and below 20 acid value when it is used in offset printing ink producing. In photogravure printing ink producing, rosin firstly is converted into metal salt rosin with a softening point of 125 to 135 Celsius degrees and below 95 acid value. For polymerized rosin, it can be used to producing various special printing ink.

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