Description of Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is a white or colourless soft solid, derived from petroleum, coal or oil shale, that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms. It is solid at room temperature and begins to melt above approximately 37 °C (99 °F); its boiling point is >370 °C (698 °F). Common applications for paraffin wax include lubrication, electrical insulation, and candles; dyed paraffin wax can be made into crayons. It is distinct from kerosene and other petroleum products that are sometimes called paraffin.

Un-dyed, unscented paraffin candles are odorless and bluish-white. Paraffin wax was first created in 1830 in Germany, and marked a major advancement in candlemaking technology, as it burned more cleanly and reliably than tallow candles and was cheaper to produce.

In chemistry, paraffin is used synonymously with alkane, indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. The name is derived from Latin parum (“barely”) + affinis, meaning “lacking affinity” or “lacking reactivity”, referring to paraffin’s unreactive nature.

Main use of Paraffin Wax

As we all know, paraffin wax are used in the manufacturing of candles. Other than that, they are also used to make wax paper, polishes, cosmetics, and even electrical insulators. For the cosmetic industry, paraffin wax are used to extract perfumes from flowers through the process called enfleurage. 

They are also used as a base for traditional medicine such as ointments and creams. They can also be used as a waterproofing material when applied on surfaces. In wood and paper matches, it helps to ignite the matchstick by supplying an easily vaporized hydrocarbon fuel.

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