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The application fileds of Turpentine


Turpentine is a clear, flammable liquid, with a pungent odour and bitter taste. It is immiscible with water and has a boiling point above 150°C. Quality criteria and specifications are indicated. Turpentine is a mixture of organic compounds, mainly terpenes, and its composition can vary considerably (more so than rosin) according to the species of pine from which it was derived. This greatly influences its value and end use and is discussed in greater detail in Appendix 3.

For some applications turpentine is used in whole form, usually as a solvent for paints and varnishes or as a cleaning agent. However, like rosin it is a very versatile material chemically, and nowadays, it is used mostly after further processing. It usually undergoes fractional distillation to isolate the desirable chemicals (mainly alpha-pinene and beta-pinene) which are then transformed into value-added derivatives. This further processing is only economic if it is carried out on a very large scale, and it is not something to be considered by a new producer of gum naval stores. Occasionally, the turpentine is rich enough in alpha-pinene, for example, to be used in whole form. The derivatives are widely used in fragrance, flavor, vitamin and polyterpene resin manufacture, and form the basis of a substantial and growing chemical industry. The biggest single turpentine derivative, synthetic pine oil, is used in disinfectants, cleaning agents and other products with a ‘pine’ odor. Many derivatives, including isobornyl acetate, camphor, linalool, citral, citronellol, citronellal and menthol are used either on their own or in the elaboration of other fragrance and flavor compounds. A few of the minor constituents of turpentine, such as anethole, are employed for fragrance or flavor use without the need for chemical modification. Downstream derivatives are not discussed further in this report.