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What Is Paraffin Wax
Jan 21, 2019

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.

 

Paraffin wax is mostly found as a white, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid, with a typical melting point between about 46 and 68 °C (115 and 154 °F),and a density of around 900 kg/m3. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents but burns readily. Its heat of combustion is 42 MJ/kg.

 

 

The hydrocarbon C31H64 is a typical component of paraffin wax.

Paraffin wax is an excellent electrical insulator, with a resistivity of between 1013 and 1017 ohm metre. This is better than nearly all other materials except some plastics (notably Teflon). It is an effective neutron moderator and was used in James Chadwick's 1932 experiments to identify the neutron.