What is Chemical Resin?

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  • Written By: Jeri Sullivan
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Chemical resin is a term used to describe synthetic resins. Natural resin is produced by most plants and is a thick, sticky fluid. The similarity between chemical resin and natural resin is that they both harden. Types of chemical resin include plastic resin, acrylic resin, polypropylene resin, and melamine resin.

Plastic resin is most often used to make product packaging. It is manufactured by heating hydrocarbons to break them down into smaller molecules. This process forms polymers which are combined with other polymers to form plastic resin. Resin suppliers sell the raw resin to packaging manufacturers who shape it into the desired plastic packaging. The most common form is polyethylene, which is used to make water bottles.

Acrylic resin is another type of synthetic resin. Chemical resin manufacturers make acrylic resin in a manner similar to plastic resin by heating and forming polymers. The two most common forms of acrylic resin are polymethyl acrylate (PMMA) and methyl methacrylate (MMA).

Polymethyl acrylate is virtually transparent and is used to make hard acrylic products. It is also weather-resistant, so it is often used in aquariums, vehicle taillights, and commercial signs. Methyl methacrylate is transparent and used in industrial lacquer for a clear finish. Methyl methacrylate is also mixed with other materials to create adhesives.


Polypropylene resin is a chemical resin used widely in the food industry. During the manufacturing process it is heated and molded into products for consumer use. Some of the most popular are reusable and resealable food containers and storage containers.

Polypropylene is often preferred over polyethylene because it has a higher melting point. Polypropylene can also endure low temperatures, such as in a freezer, without cracking or becoming damaged. Additional uses for polypropylene is in rugs or other textiles, because it holds color well and does not fade easily. It also has been used in air conditioning filters and even disposable diapers.

Melamine resin is synthetic resin formed into polymers of melamine and formaldehyde. The two commercially available forms of melamine resin used are melamine foam and laminate. Melamine foam is used for insulation and also as a sound-proofing material. Simple dishware such as cups and plates mostly used for toddlers are manufactured from melamine resin.

The laminate form of melamine is most often sold under the brand name Formica. Laminates are used for flooring and in inexpensive furniture. Laminates designed for counter tops or table tops are also available. Some kitchen and bathroom cabinetry is also manufactured using melamine laminates.


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Post 2

@Azuza - It is hard to avoid plastic in food packaging. However, I have a friend who doesn't buy anything packaged in plastic due to environmental concerns, and it can be done. He shops at the farmers market a lot, and brings his own cardboard containers for things.

Plastics made from resin might be kind of bad for you, but I think laminate flooring is kind of awesome. My old apartment had it, and it looked nice and was really easy to clean.

Post 1

I did not know that polypropylene was considered a resin. I suppose it makes sense, considering how many different shapes of food containers there are. I imagine it would be much easier to make these containers out of a soft substance that hardens than substance that is already hard.

As convenient as propylene packaging is, I keep hearing stuff about how it's not good for you. Supposedly it causes cancer or something like that. I'm not sure how to avoid it though, it seems like everything is packaged in plastic these days!

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