When you look up resin on the good old internet, you will come across several terms like cast resin, casting epoxy resin, polyester resin, and synthetic resin over and over again. This can get really confusing. Does this mean not all resins are the same acrylic casting material? If you have a pending art project that involves acrylic casting resin supplies, you must be having all these questions on which type of resin to use. Clarification is upon you as we’ll summarise everything you need to know about casting epoxy resin, polyester resin, and acrylic resin. Gear up for a bit of a science lecture.
Resin: An Overview
Resin is a chemical compound found naturally in plants like tree sap. Although it can include both solid and highly viscous materials, resin commonly refers to liquids which harden based on heat, light, or setting agents. Resin is broadly categorised in two: natural and synthetic. Any other forms of resin used today are manmade. Beyond synthetic and natural, there are further categories of synthetic resin types: thermosetting plastics (polyester and epoxy resins) and thermoplastic (acrylic). But basically, they all involve the same principle: liquid hardening into solid.
Resin is too broad a term and saying that you want to use resin without specifying which type may cause all the more confusion. It’s worth noting that there are many forms and variations of glues, epoxies, and resins to choose from. So, are epoxy resins, polyester resins, and other casting acrylic resins all the same? We can skip the complex chemistry part because the short answer is yes. However, they have different properties and can be used for many different purposes.
The Same, But Not Quite Similar
Most casting resins used for art, façade, and cladding are special casting epoxy resin products. They consist of two components, which are the actual liquid resin and the matching hardener. When you mix these two, a chemical reaction occurs to match their chemical properties, causing the mass to harden after some time. Their properties have been specially adapted to the requirements of casting decorative elements, figures, moulds, and other areas of application. As such, the resin can fill the smallest gaps and cavities as it has a very thin consistency.
Today, there are different resins commercially produced, and they differ significantly in the duration of the curing process and their hardness. Their heat resistance and the maximum layer thickness in which they can be poured onto a material also differ.
Epoxy and Polyester Resins
Since both epoxy and polyester resins are found in a wide variety of products, it can be difficult to distinguish between casting epoxy resins and other polyester resins. So, before we delve deeper, let’s establish this first: resins are distinguished from one another through their viscosity, i.e., thickness. Distinguishing resins and their different properties can be helpful when choosing a suitable epoxy, polyester, or acrylic casting material. An unsuitable choice of epoxy, polyester, or acrylic casting resin supplies may well prove costly on your part. So, when choosing a material, just remember that synthetic resins can either be used for casting or laminating.
And depending on what your project is, you can choose between laminating and casting resins.
Acrylic resin has grown in popularity in the solid surface manufacturing industry. It has several advantages as it can be heated, bent into shape, and cooled without any physical effect, making it more durable than polyester. Additionally, acrylic resin can hold up to heavier use.
When made with acrylic casting resin supplies, product seams are far more solid than products made with its polyester counterpart. However, acrylic casting material exhibits less visual depth and is more expensive than polyester. Still, its advantages give more value to your money. When you look into real-life applications, acrylic resins provide for better adhesion than other products commercially available. For superb product outcomes, water-based acrylic polymers are the smartest choice.
Acrylic resins are used everywhere: brake lights, car tires, dentures, phone screens, art and sculptures, and even theming and decorations. There is no shortage of possible uses of acrylic casting material.
Casting Resins: Low-Viscosity Resins
Viscosity refers to the resistance of a liquid to change in shape or movement. When we speak of low viscosity, it means a liquid is particularly thin. Casting resins have a relatively low viscosity, which means they are thin and free-flowing. Due to their low viscosity, they have longer working time and also curing time. Since only a little heat is released, the chemical reaction between the actual liquid resin and its hardener takes longer. Low-viscosity resins usually need about 12 to 24 hours to cure.
The casting of thicker layers in one application is possible. Remember that curing time takes longer, so you can process thicker layers and larger amounts of the resin in one step. If you want to make river tables or cast moulds, low-viscosity casting epoxy resin may be right for you.
Mainly used for:
- The casting of all kinds of moulds
- Creating moulded parts in the field of model-making
- Filling cracks/holes in wood with epoxy
- Manufacturing epoxy resin jewellery
- Producing epoxy resin floors (living area, garage, wherever applicable)
- Producing furniture like resin river tables
Laminating Resins: High-Viscosity Resins
In this category, the various products are often referred to as laminating resin. You probably have an idea by now that laminating resins are more viscous than casting resins. Now, when we talk about more viscous, highly viscous, or medium viscous synthetic resins, think of the tough consistency of honey.
Since it is thicker, it has shorter curing and processing time. This part is crucial: only relatively thin layers up to a maximum of 2 centimetres of the liquid resin should be poured at once. True to its name, laminating resin is particularly suitable for laminating or coating surfaces.
Mainly used for:
- Casting of paintings with epoxy resin (i.e., resin art)
- Certain variants of epoxy resin jewellery
- Deco objects (resin petri dishes)
- Finishing of paintings and all kinds of art
- Sealing of worktables, kitchen countertops, and other flat surfaces
Looking for a tough acrylic casting material?
If it’s tough and durable acrylic casting resin supplies you’re looking for, Australia Composite Solutions is here to offer A1 (Acrylic One), a two-component material composed of water-based acrylic resin and mineral powder that can be moulded and laminated. When it comes to low toxicity and high durability, you can trust A1 for all your project needs.
Got any more questions? Feel free to call us at +61456471883 or send us an email at email@example.com.