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Commonly Used Wax Terms You Should Know

When you think of wax, you probably think of candles or wax paper, but there are many other uses for wax. Learn about some of the different types of wax:

Mineral Wax: Mineral wax is a waxy mineral resin. It is a mixture of hydrocarbons associated with certain rock salts, coal or petroleum deposits.

Crude Wax: Crude wax is an unrefined mixture containing a high proportion of oil. It is used in the manufacture of paraffin and paraffin wax.

Carnauba wax: Carnauba wax is extracted from hydrogenated palm oil. It is used to make candles.

Slack Wax: Slack wax is an unrefined, coarse wax that contains a high percentage of oil. It is usually yellow or brown in colour. Slack wax are used in waterproofing products.

Synthetic waxes: Synthetic waxes are man-made waxes consisting of natural gas or ethylene. Examples of synthetic waxes are Fischer-Tropsch waxes and polyolefin waxes.

Natural waxes: Natural waxes come from plants, insects and animals. Examples of natural waxes are Brazilian carnauba wax, candelilla wax and beeswax.

Each wax has its own properties. The following are some common properties of waxes:

Congealing point: This wax property measures the temperature at which the wax begins to “solidify”, which is close to the solid state.

Needle penetration: The needle penetration test measures the physical hardness of wax.

Viscosity: Viscosity is a measure of a liquid’s resistance to flow. For example, honey is more viscous than water.

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