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A New Ray to Dehydrated Floral Craft-Epoxy Resin Encapsulation Technique
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First Online 13-07-2023|
There are numerous plant species that have the potential to be commercially exploited in various ways. For our basic needs, we only use a few numbers of well-known plants. Thousands of wild plant species are economically significant due to differences in texture and structure, which offer enormous market potential for attracting a large number of people all over the world (Tomar et al., 2012). Flowers have limited lives in general, but because they are perishable, they can be stored for a long period. Although, several preservatives were used to extend the flower’s storage life, the state of fresh flowers quickly deteriorates after a few days.
Resin encapsulation techniques
Resin encapsulation techniques refer to the process of embedding dry flowers in resin. Metal, glass, wood, stone, and polymers all use epoxy resins as adhesives. Dry flowers can be used to make a variety of value-added goods that can be translucent or coloured with epoxy resin. This is a process in which dry flowers are permanently trapped in resin, displaying eternal beauty forever. At the CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, researchers are using epoxy resin to dehydrate several annual and perennial blooms. Pendants, ear rings, rings, paper weights, key chains, and other value-added products.
As consumers become more “eco-conscious,” dried flowers have increased in popularity as a more environmentally friendly and biodegradable alternative to fresh flowers (Thakur, 2009). Every country has a lot of potential for developing the dry flower industry and providing jobs for housewives and rural women. This approach has been simplified to the point where it may be learned in two to three days by any group of individuals, including illiterate rural men and women. The lack of knowledge has been a key barrier to the development of the dried flower sector in our country.
In light of this issue, it is critical to provide farmers with adequate technology for the preservation of flowers and floral crafts. One promising technology is the combination of dehydration and resin encapsulation.
Blooms are dried as a method of preservation or as a method of removing moisture from the flowers (Table 1). The CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow is a pioneering institute in floral dehydration research (Datta and Roy, 2011; Radha Rani and Reddy, 2015). Commercially feasible drying methods are mostly two. Different procedures have been standardised, but only two of them, press drying and embedding drying, are commercially feasible (Ranjan and Misra, 2002). As the result of which this new embedding method for flower encapsulation has been conducted in CSIR- NBRI lab in year 2021 and 2022.
The first or initial step is to press dry flowers, viz. Aconogonum molle, Anaphalis margaritacea, A. triplinervis, Androsace rotundifolia, A. sarmentosa, Barleria cristata, Buxus sempervirens, Cotinus coggygria, Decandrum nanum, Delphinium vestitum, Hypericum oblongifolium (Singh, 2015), Inula cuspidata, Maesa chisia, Persicaria capitata, Pistacia integerrima, Viburnum mullaha, V. cylindricum, V. cotinifolium, Vitis himalayana, foliage of Adiantum capillusveneris, Asparagus adscendens, Cheilanthes brevifrons, Onychium contiguum, Polystichum squarrosum, Pteris cretica, Woodwardia unigemmata etc., in between blotting paper sheets whereas, naturally dried fruits and seeds of Abrus precatorius, Acer oblongum, Hedera nepalensis etc. can be used to give different designs and textures as such in this technique (Bhattacharjee and De, 2003; Bhutani, 1995).
The second step is to keep ready required resin and hardener i.e.,Picture 1 which should be thoroughly mixed before usage. Differently shaped silicon moulds are available to make variety of products. Epoxy resin and hardener are used in the ratio of 3:1 is poured into the moulds first as an initial layer, then press dried flowers, leaves and seeds are arranged artistically on it and then again, this solution is poured over the press dried items as a final coating. These moulds, which contain sculpted flowers and greenery, are let to dry and solidify overnight. The resin and hardener composition should be acceptable, and designs can be created using one’s own ability and imagination i.e., Picture 2,3.
After drying when plant material is embedded in epoxy resin the best ratio observed is of 3:1 in comparison to 2:1. The material combined in 3:1 ratio has higher degree of transparency in comparison to 2:1 ratio. During the process of embedding of dry plant material within epoxy resin the planting material show some colour change from their original colour.
The embedded resin product takes at least 24 hours in drying at the temperature range of 40-45°C (During Summer) and at least 42 hours at a temperature less than 25°C.
There are some of the Factors which affects the quality of the final product which are:
Ratio of epoxy resin and hardener
Epoxy resin and hardener of different companies have different consistency. Therefore, the mixing ratio is changed depending upon the consistency of the resin and hardener.
Effect of temperature is majorly seen during the drying of the product. The drying process is quick and easy during summers at room temperature but in winters the drying process get slower at room temperature. Due to which it takes two to three days in drying.
Properly mixing of the resin and hardener results in high degree of transparency and reduce the air bubbles formed during its product preparation (Table 2).
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- Batra, A. (2016). Dissemination of dry flower technology for societal good. International Journal of Current Research in Bioscience and Plant Biology. 3(5): 97-101.
- Bhattacharjee, S.K. and De, L.C. (2003). Dried Flowers and Plant Parts In: Advanced Commercial Floriculture. Eds. Prem C., Baklival, Avishkar Publishers, Jaipur. 162-173.
- Bhutani, J.C. (1995). Drying of flowers and floral craft, Advances in Horticulture Ornamental Plants. 12: 1053-1058.
- Datta, S.K. and Roy, S. (2011). Employment generation using dehydration technology for drying flowers and foliage and floral craft. Sci. and Cult. 77(1-2): 58-61.
- Radha Rani, P. and Reddy, M.V. (2015). Dehydration techniques for flowers. Int. J. Appl. Res. 1(10): 306-311.
- Ranjan, J.K. and Misra, S. (2002). Dried flowers: a way to enjoy their beauty for a long period. Indian Hort. 46: 32-33.
- Singh, D. (2015). Helichrysum: An outstanding flower for value addition. Floriculture Today. 19(10): 48-50.
- Singh, D. and Santosh Kumar. (2008). Kartit aivam sookhe pushp utpadan mei statice ka yogdaan. Vishwa Krishi Sanchaar. 10(8): 53-54.
- Thakur, P. (2019). Epoxy resin encapsulation: A novel drying technique for native flowers. Indian Horticulture. 64(4): 40-41.
- Tomar, K.S., Kumar, S. and Shakywar, R.C. (2012). Flower dehydration: A profitable business for rural people. College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agricultural University, Arunachal Pradesh.
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