- A Non-Timber Forest Product Resin Produced on Trees (Not By Them, Unlike Rosin ) by Lac Bugs
- The Females essentially produce a protective tube around the branches that consists of this material
- These branches are then Pruned off during harvest time
- The Processing Varies (And is Further Documented in a Sub-Section of this Page), but it typically entails
- Crude Removal of the Shellac Deposits from the Pruned Branches
- Removal of Dirt and Other Debris from the Removed Crude Shellac
- Refining of this "Seed Shellac"
- Given that it is nearly all produced there, Much of the Literature Comes Out of India, and Much of the Terminology is also in Hindi
- The material can be used as:
Things to Look Into
Misc Physical Properties
- UV Resistance
- Bio-Degradation (Moreso how fast does this happen, compared to if it is possible, as would be the question for synthetic plastics! Wondering so that one could determine if it would "rot" in long term outdoor occasions / undergo Rancification )
- Impact of Humidity / Thermal Cycling on it
- How it behaves in Filament Forms; Could it be Made into FDM 3D Printing Filament ?
- Tensile/Compressive/Shear etc Strengths if those aren't easy to find
- Can Shellac, via a combination of dilution in a solvent then Recrystallization , or Chromatography be "upgraded" from lower darker grades to amber grades?
- Furthermore could it be made (more) clear?
- Could individual components be separated out, and if so what advantageous material properties could this unlock if any?
- A similar question exists for Beeswax Processing
- Vacuum Distillation may not work as well for shellac, but may work for Beeswax
- Kerria lacca can be cultivated on either cultivated or wild host plants.
- In India the most common host plants are:
- Dhak (Butea monosperma)
- Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana)
- Kusum (Schleichera oleosa) (reported to give the best quality and yield)
- In Thailand the most common host plants are
- Rain tree (Albizia saman)
- Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan)
- In China the common host plants include
- Pigeon pea ([Cajanus cajan)
- Hibiscus species
- In Mexico
- Estimated yields per tree in India are 6–10 kg for kusum, 1.5–6 kg for ber, and 1–4 kg for dhak. The bugs' life cycles can produce two sticklac yields per year, though it may be better to rest for six months to let the host tree recover.
- Would be interesting to look into alternative trees to adapt production to other areas
- Also the potential of Selective Breeding / Genetic Engineering of the Insects and/or Trees to make them "work"
- How much do they impact the host tree?
- Ie with plants such as Jatropha (which as per Wikipedia is used) can you still get a similar amount of fruit yield? ( Could we have a Bio-Diesel and Shellac Tree?!? lol )
- Also how much does it spread; could it become an Invasive Species if introduced into Non-Native Areas?
- Especially if modified to work with the local Flora...