The Uses of Polyester Resin

Written by angela brady
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Introduction
  • Introduction

    The Uses of Polyester Resin

    Polyester resin is a synthetic material manufactured through the reaction between organic acids and alcohols. It can take several forms, including liquid, gel, and film, and has different properties that make it a useful material in many industries. Architects, builders, engineers, and designers all take advantage of the light weight, weatherproof strength of polyester resin in a variety of applications.

    Many architectural details are made from foam coated with fibreglass and polyester resin, and painted to match the building. (columns image by Dmitry Nikolaev from Fotolia.com)

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    Construction Materials

    Many home-building materials incorporate polyester resin as a source of lightweight strength. Prefabricated shower stalls and closet fixtures are often made of a mixture of polyester resin and acrylic, and decorative metal pieces are often gel-coated with a polyester resin-based colourant to match decor. Many decorative architectural details such as columns and balustrades can be carved from hard foam, coated with fibreglass and polyester resin for strength and weatherproofing, and painted to match the building.

    Many prefabricated shower stalls are made of polyester resin and acrylic. (Shower image by Semfamily from Fotolia.com)

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    Automotive, Aircraft, Marine

    Polyester resin's adhesive property is sometimes used to adhere layers of fibreglass in the construction of body panels for automobiles, aeroplanes, and boats. Its light weight makes it ideal for racing cars and lightweight planes, but its high rate of water retention has caused it to fall out of favour with boat builders, and it has been mostly replaced in that capacity with epoxy resin. Even steel body panels are occasionally coated with a polyester resin-based colourant for decorative purposes.

    Many small aircraft include polyester resin components. (ultralight in the sky image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

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    Luggage and Packaging

    The ability of polyester resin to be dried into film and formed into sheets while remaining transparent makes it an ideal packaging material. As vacuum forming and heat sealing technology developed, new methods of packaging that used polyester resin as a base material came to the forefront, and still remain the most common forms of small-item packaging today. The same advantages that make polyester resin perfect for packaging also make it ideal for luggage. Suitcases and briefcases often contain polyester resin panels that are reinforced by fabric or leather to make them attractive.

    Many hard-sided suitcases are made from polyester resin panels reinforced with fabric or leather. (wooden drum carrying case or suitcase image by Ali M. from Fotolia.com)

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    Appliances and Furnishing

    Polyester resin is commonly used to bond the fibreglass on the inside of many "wet" appliances, including dishwashers and washing machines. Despite the association with economy models, fibreglass and resin linings have the advantage over stainless steel interiors in that they do not ding and rust. The same lightweight strength that has made polyester resin popular in so many other applications also makes it useful for the manufacture of patio furniture. It also has the necessary qualities of being waterproof, weather-resistant and inexpensive to replace.

    Patio furniture made from polyester resin is inexpensive, weather-resistant, and sturdy. (rocking chairs in a row image by Larry Roberg from Fotolia.com)

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