Paraffin wax is a wax-like mixture of saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) of predominantly normal – linear structure and composition from С18Н38 (octadecane) to С35Н72 (pentatriocontane).
The name paraffin wax comes from the Latin parum (“hardly”, “little”) + affinis (“related”), which means “no affinity” or “no reactivity” and denotes the non-reactive nature of paraffin wax.
Paraffin wax is obtained primarily from petroleum. Therefore, he received a second name – petroleum paraffin wax.
The chemical formula of paraffin wax wax is CnH2n + 2, where n = 18 to 35.
Depending on the degree of purification, the paraffin wax is white (highly purified and refined paraffin wax), or slightly yellowish and from light yellow to light brown (unrefined paraffin wax).
Paraffin wax does not dissolve in water, however, it is readily soluble in a significant amount of organic solvents (in light gasoline, benzene, acetone, chloroform, ethyl ether, carbon disulfide, dichloroethane, in boiling ethyl alcohol, etc.), in petroleum products (when heated) and mineral oils (when heated).
Waterproof. Thus, paraffin wax-impregnated paper is often used for packaging products. Paraffin wax-impregnated paper is waterproof and hydrophobic.
Water not only does not penetrate through it, but does not even wet it. If water gets on such paper, it remains on its surface and can be easily wiped off with a rag. Milk bags are made of waxed cardboard.
Combustible. Fire hazard.
When heated above 90 ° C, paraffin wax in air begins to vigorously soar without boiling. Dense paraffin wax vapors heated to 120-150 ° C ignite spontaneously in contact with air.
Paraffin wax wax is a good electrical insulator.
The properties of paraffin wax vary significantly depending on the content of light hydrocarbons, unsaturated compounds, resinous substances, various mechanical and other impurities in it. These impurities give the paraffin wax a yellow color, reduce its hardness, and reduce the melting point.
Depending on the proportions of heavy and light hydrocarbons in the composition of paraffin wax, it can be in different states of aggregation: liquid and solid.
The chemical composition of paraffin wax:
Paraffin wax is a mixture of saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) with a composition from C18H38 (octadecane) to C35H72 (pentatriocontane), having a predominantly normal – linear structure.
It also usually contains a certain amount of isomers of saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) with a branched structure, as well as aromatic hydrocarbons (arenes) and naphthenes (cycloalkanes, cycloparaffin waxs).
The history of the discovery of paraffin wax:
Paraffin wax wax was first created in 1830 by the German chemist Karl von Reichenbach when he was trying to develop a means to effectively separate and purify waxy substances found in petroleum.
Paraffin wax wax represented a significant advance in the development of the candle industry. Before its opening, candles were made from animal fat, oil and wax.
Such candles gave off an unpleasant odor, smoked a lot and were very expensive. Paraffin wax burned cleaner and more reliably, and was cheaper to manufacture than any other candle fuel.
Its only drawback was its low melting point, which is why the candles tended to float before they burn out. However, this disadvantage was soon eliminated by adding stearin (a mixture of fatty acids from animal fats) to it. As a result, wax production boomed in the early 20th century.
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