Bio - Resin



Other Bio-resins are also being developed by companies like ‘Vernique Bio-tech’, which has used vegetable starch’s in a similar way to produce bio-resins using Potato, Tapioca and Yam. Of particular interest are crops such as Vernonia that thrive in poor soils like that found in Ethiopia. This non-edible crop is showing potential for inducing fundamental change in developing countries especially where nothing else can be grown (and sold). These benefits include: cash crops for developing countries will reduce poverty, combat global warming by storing 2.5 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of bio-resin produced, reduce environmental pollution caused by petrochemical production and use of other harmful processing chemicals.

Unfortunately, much of this research is still on going and it will be years even decades,  before we see this technology produce a usable and affordable product that will, one day, become common place.

The only 2 part Bio-resin that is currently readily available is still relatively expensive, at around £25 per kilo, in comparison to other (petrochemicals) resins and plastics such as polyester clear casting resin, which is around a third of the price.

There are various types of linseed oil based resins which use UV light to cure. There are encapsulation issues with this for obvious reasons and certain thickness’s are impossible.

The important thing to take away here is, ‘watch this space’- the technology for a greener future is on its way!



How to use Bio-Resin

Bio-resin can be used in exactly the same way as Clear casting Polyester resin, but has non of the health and safety implications attached to Polyesters.

It is usually supplied in a 1-kilo kit consisting of 2 bottles (resin and hardener), although larger amounts are available.

1. It is mixed at a 1 to 1.5 ratio (for example- 30 grams of one, 45 grams of the other). This does vary with each type so always check the ratio before you start. Always use digital scales to measure out the resin. Pour the resin into a clean, dry mixing pot and work out how much hardener you will need. Be as accurate as possible.

2. The hardener must be stirred thoroughly into the resin, this inevitably introduces a lot of air into the mix.

3. To avoid the resin curing with lots of bubbles trapped in it, we must de-gassed it using a vacuum chamber.

4. Once no more bubbles are visible the resin can be removed from the chamber and
poured into a pre-set mould.

Tip: Warming the mould before hand will help the resin set quicker. Silicone moulds are best for this.

5. This type of Bio-resin cures in around 4-6 hours (dependant on ambient temperature and humidity) and forms a hard and durable surface that can be easily sanded using wet & dry paper and buffed to create an excellent quality water-clear resin castings and encapsulations.



Prices- Bio-resin costs around £25.00 per kilo,

This cost varies depending on how much you buy. Bulk buy’s are cheapest.

   

Bio-resin and hardener bottles

   

   

Shaped and polished Bio-resin flower encapsulation

   

Bio-resin cast, taken from a mixing cup

Bio-resin castings from silicone

What is Bio-Resin?


Although some of the knowledge and technology necessary to produce Bio-resins has been around since the 1930’s its use was always limited due to its costly production methods and inferior mechanical properties.

However developments in research and development over the last few years have led to a number of promising technical breakthroughs in a bid to beat our commercial addiction to crude oil and petro-chemicals.

In 2005 FKuR released the first commercially available biological resin, made from renewable resources, it is an environmentally friendly and toxologically safe, clear casting resin. This version of Bio-resin is made from sunflower seed, and Soya bean proteins although many other biological oils and starch’s can be used for this process.

More recently projects like ‘REPLANT’ (by the Bio-composites department at University of Wales in conjunction with bio-polymers department at Cambridge) are leading the way with their innovative research into a pioneering technique called ‘ozonization’ that can transform vegetable oils into formaldehyde-free non toxic bio-resins, based on rape seed oil primarily, but also other crops like corn are being investigated too

This method of production claims to further reduce pollutants and be more cost effective to produce.

    Bio-resin tile with scrim and bamboo