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Some Knowledges About Normal Paraffin

Normal paraffin (from Latin parum “little” + affinis “related”) is a wax-like mixture of saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) with a predominantly normal structure of composition from C18H38 (octadecane) to C35H72 (pentatriocontane).

Melting point – from 45°С to 65°С;
Density – 0.880-0.915 g / cm³ (15 ° C);

When heated above 90 ° C, normal paraffin in air begins to intensely soar without boiling. Dense vapors of normal paraffin heated to 120-150°C self-ignite upon contact with air.

Obtained mainly from oil

Depending on the ratio of concentrations of heavy and light hydrocarbons, paraffin can be liquid, solid and finely crystalline (ceresin).

Discovered by carl von reichenbach

The effect that occurs when water is mixed with boiling paraffin. Normal paraffin is a white substance with a molecular weight of 300-450, in the molten state it has a low viscosity.

Paraffin is inert to most chemicals. They are oxidized by nitric acid, atmospheric oxygen (at 140 °C and above) and some other oxidizing agents to form various fatty acids similar to those found in vegetable and animal fats. Synthetic fatty acids obtained by paraffin oxidation are used instead of vegetable and animal fats in the perfume industry, in the production of lubricants, detergents, and food products.

normal paraffin


  1. candles for lighting, and in the manufacture of matches
  2. lubricant for rubbing wooden parts (drawer guides, pencil cases, etc.)
  3. in a mixture with gasoline – anti-corrosion coating (flammable!)
  4. in cosmetics for the production of vaseline
  5. normal paraffin is registered as food additives E905x
  6. used for normal paraffin therapy in medicine and cosmetology
  7. lubrication for cross-country skiing, alpine skiing and snowboarding
  8. in nuclear physics, technology: effective neutron moderator and proton “generator”
  9. for lubricating a bicycle chain
  10. for salting felt wads
  11. In radio engineering
  12. For the impregnation of electrical paper used in the manufacture of capacitors and the winding of transformers. Sometimes they also impregnate the cardboard used for the manufacture of circuit boards using the surface mounting method.
  13. For casting frameless inductors, to protect them from vibrations and microphone effect. Often used, for example, in VHF radios. Sometimes the entire volume of the microassembly is poured.
  14. In other cases, where high dielectric strength, low AC losses, low cost and the ability to easily release from pouring by simple heating are required.

Normal paraffin can also be isolated from other products, for example, from ozokerite. Depending on the fractional composition, melting temperature and structure, normal paraffins are divided into liquid (tmelt ≤ 27 °C), solid (tmelt = 28-70 °C) and microcrystalline (tmelt > 60-80 °C) – ceresins. At the same melting point, ceresins differ from normal paraffins in their greater molecular weight, density, and viscosity.

Ceresins react vigorously with fuming sulfuric acid, while normal paraffins react weakly with it. During the distillation of oil, ceresins are concentrated in the sediment, and normal paraffin is distilled with distillate. Ceresins, which are concentrated in the residue after the distillation of fuel oil, are a mixture of cycloalkanes and, in a smaller amount, solid arenes and alkanes. There are relatively few isoalkanes in ceresin.

According to the degree of purification, normal paraffins are divided into the following types:

slack and petrolatum, which contain up to 30% (wt.) oils;
crude normal paraffins (ceresins) with oil content up to 6% (wt.);
purified and highly purified normal paraffin (ceresins).

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