Linseed oil is an amber-coloured, fatty oil extracted from the cotyledons and inner coats of the linseed found on the flax plant. Linseed oil has long been used as a drying oil in paints and varnish. It is also used in making putty, linoleum, oilcloth, and certain inks. Whilst its primary use is in industry, it is also used for specific edible purposes. Linseed oil is still considered as the primary drying oil for its performance against cost, with its high degree of unsaturated C18:3 fatty acid - linolenic acid (50%) and high Iodine value.
The primary sources of Flax or Linseed are Canada, Europe, USA and Argentina. Produced either by cold press or solvent extraction, the oil has some uses (eg paint and putty manufacture) in its crude state, but otherwise is the starting oil for many processes.
Uses of Linseed Oil
Refined (degummed, neutralized and bleached) oil is employed in alkyd resin manufacture, printing varnishes and production of stand oils for specific paint applications as well as brake linings. Boiled linseed oil is used in the steel industry as an anti corrosion agent and as wood preservative.