Rosin is brittle and friable, with a faint piny odour. It is typically a glassy solid, though some rosins will form crystals, especially when brought into solution. The practical melting point varies with different specimens, some being semi-fluid at the temperature of boiling water, others melting at 100 °C to 120 °C. It is very flammable, burning with a smoky flame, so care should be taken when melting it. It is soluble in alcohol, ether, benzene and chloroform.

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