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I am updating the section in my egg tempera book on varnishing. It's a very complicated chapter, unfortuantely, because it's an unfamiliar subject to many tempera artists, so there's a lot to explain; and there's the added complication of so many potential products (both as isolators and final varnishes). Of course I can't cover every product, I discuss what's most recommended and ones I'm familiar with - still, it's a challenge to organize and make coherent.
Given the above, I'm trying to get the right nomenclature to distinguish between water-based synthetic polymers (primarily various Golden products, although I also include water-based PVAs offered by Gamblin and Talas) and solvent-based synthetic polymer resins (B72, Mowilith 20, Soluvar, MSA, Laropal, Regalrez). So my questions are..
- Are both water-based and solvent-based synthetic polymers considered resins, or is the term "resin" associated only with solvent-based coatings? Is there a reason to distinguish solvent-based synthetic polymers as "resins" (does it contribute anything to understanding that group of coatings)?
- B72, Soluvar and MSA are HMW, yes?
- B72 is soluble in acetone, toluene and xylene; Soluvar and MSA soluble only in true mineral spirits, yes?
- Laropal and Regalrez are LMW, yes?
- Both Laropal and Regalrex are soluble in either true mineral spirits or OMS?
- Is it important to include the numbers in Laropal A81 and Regalrez 1094? I'm sure they're meaningful, but it's already confusing for newcomers to absorb these strange (to them) chemical terms, and lengthening their names with meaningless (to a newcomer) numbers can make eyes glaze over...
I know MITRA has an excellent section on varnishes - I'm including the link in my book.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
There are resins in both formulations. Resin is the material
is left to create the coating in either case. It is true that resins dispersed
in an aqueous system have other additives to allow for the dispersion
(surfactants, defoamers, etc).
The synthetic resin Paraloid B-67 can be dissolved in mineral spirits to become a solvent-borne
varnish or be dispersed in an aqueous system that would allow for initial
application diluted in water but dries insoluble in water after drying. Both
forms would contain a resin, the same resin in this case. Mowilith 20 and white
glue both contain PVA resins.
I hope that makes sense.
I am only including MWs in the below for illustraion, not for you to force on non-science people.
Paraloid B-72 is very HMW 105,000 units in general.
Paraloid B-67 MSA is still HMW but not as much as above. 60,000 units in general. This is often mixed
with F-10 (which helps diminish brittleness) is a HMW. 142,000 units in general.
What is called MSA is often a mixture of these.
Laropal A-81 is LMW but I cannot find an exact number. I do
see that it has a relatively broad molecular weight distribution. That is
probably why no specific MW is listed.
Regalrez is super LMW under 900 units. Again, I am not sure
if it is lower or higher than the above.
In general, LMW resins make varnishes that are more
saturating since their LMW allows them to level out while drying. They do not almost immediately gel up, preventing leveling.
This leveling is a primary component in color saturation even beyond refractive
index (think about how fully saturating a surface is when covered by a film or
drop of water even though water has a very low refractive index compared to
The high saturation of LMW may only be the case when used as
solvent-borne varnishes as the other additives in dispersions might diminish
the leveling. How much or how little I do not know. I will shoot the Golden
people an email to see if they want to comment.
Laropal® A81 is a urea aldehyde resin with a refractive index of 1.50, an average Molecular Weight (Mw) of 3,566, and a polydispersity of 2.76.
Regalrez® 1094 is a hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin with an RI of 1.52, and 815 Mw.
Dammar is triterpenoid resin with a refractive index of 1.54, 1,463 Mw, and a polydispersity of 3.50.
Paraloid® B-67 is a poly(isobutylmethacrylate) resin with RI of 1.48, and 24,876 Mw.
Paraloid® B-72 is an ethylmethacrylate/methylacrylate copolymer with an RI of 1.49, and 75,455 Mw.
Source: E. René de la Rie, John K. Delaney, Kathryn M. Morales, Christopher A. Maines & Li-Piin Sung (2010) "Modification of Surface Roughness by Various Varnishes and Effect on Light Reflection", Studies in Conservation, 55:2, 134-143, DOI: 10.1179/sic.2010.55.2.134
I do recomemnd using the number designations of these resins since there are several different, Paraoloid, Laropal and Reglarez resins used in commerce.
is right about the number codes. There was another Laropal called K80 which was
a poylcyclohexanone resin that had quite different qualities from A81. It was
also used in the past as a picture varnish but is no longer being manufactured.
It did become less soluble over time.
I neglected to add the 1094 to the Regalrez
since it is the only one that is generally used in painting conservation, but
there are a number of other resins that also use the Regalrez name but with a
different number code. Precision is always a good idea.
MSA is made of HMW resins. I also think it would be important to give the Laropal and Regalrez numbers, since there are alternative resins available from conservation suppliers (like Regalrez 1126) and artists might get confused.
Koo, since both polymer dispersion and polymer solutions are made of resins, I think using the term 'resin' exclusively for solutions might be confusion. Typically polymer dispersions are higher in molecular weight than solution polymers. Therefore solution varnishes can sink into paint layers more than water borne varnishes. Solvent borne varnishes with slower evaporation solvents tend to have better flow and leveling, which can also increase saturation and clarity. Polymer dispersions require lots of other stuff (particularly coalescing agents, but also surfactants, defoamers, anti-freeze agents etc.) that can affect the clarity and refractive index.
Thanks, everyone, for your replies. It's all helpful and informative. Koo