Turpentine (also called spirit of turpentine, oil of turpentine, and wood turpentine) is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. It is sometimes known colloquially as turps, but this more often refers to turpentine substitute (or mineral turpentine).
The word turpentine derives (via French and Latin) from the Greek word τερεβινθίνη terebinthine, the name of a species of tree, the terebinth tree, from whose sap the spirit was originally distilled.
One of the earliest sources was the terebinth or turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus), a Mediterranean tree related to the pistachio.
Important pines for turpentine production include: Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster), Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis), Masson's Pine (Pinus massoniana), Sumatran Pine (Pinus merkusii), Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris), Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) and Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa).
Turpentine distilled from the California pines such as Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana) yield a form of turpentine that is almost pure Heptane.
When producing chemical wood pulp from pines or other coniferous trees with the Kraft process, turpentine is collected as a byproduct. Often it is burned at the mill for energy production. The average yield of crude turpentine is 5–10 kg/t pulp.
Industrial and other end uses
The two primary uses of turpentine in industry are as a solvent and as a source of materials for organic synthesis.
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