Wax

Wax

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Encyclopedia
Wax refers to a class of chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

s that are plastic
Plasticity (physics)
In physics and materials science, plasticity describes the deformation of a material undergoing non-reversible changes of shape in response to applied forces. For example, a solid piece of metal being bent or pounded into a new shape displays plasticity as permanent changes occur within the...

 (malleable) near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt
Melting point
The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at standard atmospheric pressure...

 above 45 °C (113 °F) to give a low viscosity
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

 liquid. Waxes are insoluble
Solubility
Solubility is the property of a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical substance called solute to dissolve in a solid, liquid, or gaseous solvent to form a homogeneous solution of the solute in the solvent. The solubility of a substance fundamentally depends on the used solvent as well as on...

 in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents. All waxes are organic compound
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

s, both synthetic and naturally occurring.

Types


Waxes are organic compounds that characteristically consist of long alkyl chains. Natural waxes are typically ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

s of fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

s and long chain alcohol
Fatty alcohol
Fatty alcohols are aliphatic alcohols consisting of a chain of 8 to 22 carbon atoms. Fatty alcohols usually have even number of carbon atoms and a single alcohol group attached to the terminal carbon. Some are unsaturated and some are branched...

s. Synthetic waxes are long-chain hydrocarbons lacking functional group
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

s.

Plant and animal waxes


Waxes are biosynthesized
Biosynthesis
Biosynthesis is an enzyme-catalyzed process in cells of living organisms by which substrates are converted to more complex products. The biosynthesis process often consists of several enzymatic steps in which the product of one step is used as substrate in the following step...

 by many plants and animals. They typically consist of several components, including wax esters, wax acids, wax alcohols, and hydrocarbons. Wax esters are typically derived from a variety of carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acids are organic acids characterized by the presence of at least one carboxyl group. The general formula of a carboxylic acid is R-COOH, where R is some monovalent functional group...

s and a variety of fatty alcohol
Fatty alcohol
Fatty alcohols are aliphatic alcohols consisting of a chain of 8 to 22 carbon atoms. Fatty alcohols usually have even number of carbon atoms and a single alcohol group attached to the terminal carbon. Some are unsaturated and some are branched...

s. The composition depends not only on species, but also on geographic location of the organism. Because they are mixtures, naturally produced waxes are softer and melt at lower temperatures than the pure components.

Animal waxes


The most commonly known animal wax is beeswax
Beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

, but other insects secrete waxes. A major component of beeswax is the ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

 myricyl palmitate substance which is used in constructing their honeycomb
Honeycomb
A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal waxcells built by honey bees in their nests to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen.Beekeepers may remove the entire honeycomb to harvest honey...

s. Its melting point is 62-65 °C. Spermaceti
Spermaceti
Spermaceti is a wax present in the head cavities of the sperm whale . Originally mistaken for the whales' sperm , spermaceti is created in the spermaceti organ inside the whale's head and connected to its nasal passage...

 occurs in large amounts in the head oil of the sperm whale
Sperm Whale
The sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, is a marine mammal species, order Cetacea, a toothed whale having the largest brain of any animal. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal's head. The sperm whale is the only living member of genus Physeter...

. One of its main constituents is cetyl palmitate
Cetyl palmitate
Cetyl palmitate is the ester derived from palmitic acid and cetyl alcohol. It is the primary constituent of spermaceti, the wax found in the skull of sperm whales....

, another ester of a fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

 and a fatty alcohol
Fatty alcohol
Fatty alcohols are aliphatic alcohols consisting of a chain of 8 to 22 carbon atoms. Fatty alcohols usually have even number of carbon atoms and a single alcohol group attached to the terminal carbon. Some are unsaturated and some are branched...

. Lanolin
Lanolin
Lanolin , also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep...

 is a wax obtained from wool, consisting of esters of sterol
Sterol
Sterols, also known as steroid alcohols, are a subgroup of the steroids and an important class of organic molecules. They occur naturally in plants, animals, and fungi, with the most familiar type of animal sterol being cholesterol...

s.

Plant waxes


Especially in warm climates, plants secrete waxes as a way to control evaporation and hydration. From the commercial perspective, the most important wax is Carnauba wax
Carnauba wax
Carnauba , also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, and Rio Grande do Norte. It is known as "queen of waxes" and usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown...

, a hard wax obtained from the Brazilian palm. Containing the ester myricyl cerotate, it has many applications. Other more specialized vegetable waxes include candelilla wax
Candelilla wax
Candelilla wax is a wax derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, Euphorbia cerifera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica, from the family Euphorbiaceae...

, ouricury wax, sugarcane wax, retamo wax, jojoba oil
Jojoba oil
Jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced in the seed of the jojoba plant, a shrub native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. The oil makes up approximately 50% of the jojoba seed by weight....

. The epicuticular wax
Epicuticular wax
In botany, the plant cuticle is covered by epicuticular wax or bloom mainly consistingof straight-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons with a variety of substituted groups, serving to decrease moisture loss and decay...

es of plants are mixtures of substituted long-chain aliphatic hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

s, containing alkane
Alkane
Alkanes are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and carbon atoms and are bonded exclusively by single bonds without any cycles...

s, fatty acids, primary and secondary alcohols, diol
Diol
A diol or glycol is a chemical compound containing two hydroxyl groups A geminal diol has two hydroxyl groups bonded to the same atom...

s, ketone
Ketone
In organic chemistry, a ketone is an organic compound with the structure RCR', where R and R' can be a variety of atoms and groups of atoms. It features a carbonyl group bonded to two other carbon atoms. Many ketones are known and many are of great importance in industry and in biology...

s, aldehyde
Aldehyde
An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

s.

Petroleum derived waxes


Although most natural waxes are esters, paraffin waxes are hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

s, mixtures of alkanes usually in a homologous series
Homologous series
In chemistry, a homologous series is a series of compounds with a similar general formula, possessing similar chemical properties due to the presence of the same functional group, and showing a gradation in physical properties as a result of increase in molecular size and mass...

 of chain lengths. These materials represent a significant fraction of petroleum. They are refined by vacuum distillation. Paraffin waxes are mixtures of saturated n- and isoalkanes, naphthenes, and alkyl- and naphthene-substituted aromatic compounds. The degree of branching has an important influence on the properties. Millions of tons of paraffin waxes are produced annually. They are used in adhesives, in foods (such as chewing gum and cheese wrapping), in cosmetics, and as coatings.

Montan wax


Montan wax
Montan wax
Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax obtained by solvent extraction of certain types of lignite or brown coal. Commercially viable deposits exist in only a few locations, including Amsdorf, Germany, and in the Ione Basin near Ione, California.-Properties:Its color ranges...

 is a fossilized wax extracted from coal and lignite
Lignite
Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, or Rosebud coal by Northern Pacific Railroad,is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat...

. It is very hard, reflecting the high concentration of saturated fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

s and alcohols, not esters that characterize softer waxes. Although dark brown and smelly, they can be purified and bleached to give commercially useful products.

Polyethylene and related derivatives


Some waxes are obtained by cracking
Cracking
Cracking may refer to:* Cracking, the formation of a fracture or partial fracture in a solid material* Fluid catalytic cracking, a catalytic process widely used in oil refineries for cracking large hydrocarbon molecules into smaller molecules...

 polyethylene at 400 °C. The products have the formula (CH2)nH2, where n ranges between about 50 and 100. As of 1995, about 200 million kilograms/y were consumed.

Uses


Waxes are mainly consumed industrially as components of complex formulations, often for coatings. The main use of polyethylene and polypropylene waxes is in the formulation of colourants for plastics. Waxes confer matting effects and wear resistance to paints. Polyethyelene waxes are incorporated into inks in the form of dispersions to decrease friction. They are employed as release agent
Release agent
A release agent is a chemical used to get a slip effect. It can provide a solution in processes involving mold release, die-cast release, plastic release, and tire and web release.-Concrete:...

s. They are also used as slip agents, e.g. in furniture, and corrosion resistance.

Candles


Waxes and hard fats such as tallow
Tallow
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.In industry,...

 have been used to make candle
Candle
A candle is a solid block or cylinder of wax with an embedded wick, which is lit to provide light, and sometimes heat.Today, most candles are made from paraffin. Candles can also be made from beeswax, soy, other plant waxes, and tallow...

s, used for lighting and decoration in a number of religious traditions, including Christianity and Hinduism, as well as various neo-pagan religions such as Wicca. The Emperor Constantine is reported to have called for the use of candles during an Easter service in the 4th century AD. Candles continue to be used today by Christians in worship as symbols of the light of Christ. In the Roman Catholic Church, beeswax candles are used, since a colony of bees is a celibate sisterhood with a single mother. Candles of wax or tallow took the place of lamps used in various Jewish rituals such as the Sabbath lights; in the Havdalah ceremony; and the Hanukkah lights. A synagogue had to be well lit, and pious folk used to donate candles for the purpose. On the basis of the verse: 'The soul of man is a candle of the Lord', a special candle which burns twenty-four hours is kindled on the anniversary of the death of a near relative (Yahrzeit) and often two lighted candles are placed at the head of the corpse awaiting burial. In fact, according to the Shulchan Aruch, wax candles are the only kind of light which can be used for Bedikat Chametz, and not tallow or oil. Candles have also played a role in pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 religions and in modern humanist festivals. Virtually all rituals in Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

 include the lighting of altar candles, where two main candles are often used to represent the God and the Goddess; and the lighting of candles is a central theme at the Wiccan holiday of Brigid or Imbolc, which is also known as Candlemas or the Feast of the Waxing Light. Wax candles were also used in secular
Secularity
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

 life for lighting, signals in warfare, safety in travel and for time keeping, and are still in popular use today to provide soft lighting for meals and other social activities.

Other uses


Sealing wax
Sealing wax
Sealing wax is a wax material of a seal which, after melting, quickly hardens forming a bond that is difficult to separate without noticeable tampering. Wax is used to verify something such as a document is unopened, to verify the sender's identity, for example with a signet ring, and as decoration...

 was used to close important documents in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. Waxes are used to make wax paper
Wax paper
Wax paper is a kind of paper that is made moisture proof through the application of wax....

, impregnating and coating paper
Coated paper
Coated paper is paper which has been coated by a compound to impart certain qualities to the paper, including weight, surface gloss, smoothness or reduced ink absorbency. Kaolinite or calcium carbonate are used to coat paper for high quality printing used in packaging industry and in magazines...

 and card to waterproof it or make it resistant to staining, or to modify its surface properties. Waxes are also used in shoe polish
Shoe polish
Shoe polish , usually a waxy paste or a cream, is a consumer product used to polish, shine, waterproof, and restore the appearance of leather shoes or boots, thereby extending the footwear's life...

es, wood polishes, and automotive polishes, as mold release agents in mold making, as a coating for many cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

s, and to waterproof leather and fabric. Wax has been used since antiquity as a temporary, removable model in lost-wax casting of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 and other materials.

Wax with colorful pigments added has been used as a medium in encaustic painting
Encaustic painting
Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used...

, and is used today in the manufacture of crayon
Crayon
A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or other materials used for writing, coloring, drawing, and other methods of illustration. A crayon made of oiled chalk is called an oil pastel; when made of pigment with a dry binder, it is simply a pastel; both are popular media for color...

s and colored pencil
Pencil
A pencil is a writing implement or art medium usually constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing. The case prevents the core from breaking, and also from marking the user’s hand during use....

s. Carbon paper
Carbon paper
Carbon paper is paper coated on one side with a layer of a loosely bound dry ink or pigmented coating, usually bound with wax. It is used for making one or more copies simultaneous with the creation of an original document...

, used for making duplicate typewritten
Typewriter
A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical device with keys that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a medium, usually paper. Typically one character is printed per keypress, and the machine prints the characters by making ink impressions of type elements similar to the pieces...

 documents was coated with carbon black
Carbon black
Carbon black is a material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FCC tar, coal tar, ethylene cracking tar, and a small amount from vegetable oil. Carbon black is a form of amorphous carbon that has a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, although its...

 suspended in wax, typically montan wax
Montan wax
Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax obtained by solvent extraction of certain types of lignite or brown coal. Commercially viable deposits exist in only a few locations, including Amsdorf, Germany, and in the Ione Basin near Ione, California.-Properties:Its color ranges...

, but has largely been superseded by photocopier
Photocopier
A photocopier is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat...

s and computer printer
Computer printer
In computing, a printer is a peripheral which produces a text or graphics of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper or transparencies. Many printers are primarily used as local peripherals, and are attached by a printer cable or, in most new printers, a...

s. In another context, lipstick
Lipstick
Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many varieties of lipstick are known. As with most other types of makeup, lipstick is typically, but not exclusively, worn by women...

 and mascara
Mascara
Mascara is a cosmetic commonly used to enhance the eyes. It may darken, thicken, lengthen, and/or define the eyelashes. Normally in one of three forms—liquid, cake, or cream—the modern mascara product has various formulas; however, all contain the same basic components of pigments, oils, waxes, and...

 are blends of various fats and waxes colored with pigments, and both beeswax
Beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

 and lanolin
Lanolin
Lanolin , also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep...

 are used in other cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

. Ski wax
Ski wax
Ski wax is a material applied to the bottom of skis or snowboards to improve the ski's performance on snow. It can also be applied to other devices that slide over snow and ice such as toboggans.- Types of ski wax :...

 is used in skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 and snowboarding
Snowboarding
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the U.S.A...

. Also, the sports of surfing and skateboarding
Skateboarding
Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.Skateboarding can be a recreational activity, an art form, a job, or a method of transportation. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2002 report...

 often use wax to enhance the performance. Beeswax or coloured synthetic wax is used to decorate Easter egg
Easter egg
Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime.The oldest tradition is to use dyed or painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans...

s in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

. Paraffin wax is used in making chocolate covered bon-bons. Wax is also used in wax bullets
Wax bullets
Wax bullets are made of paraffin wax, and are pressed into a primed cartridge case. Gun powder is not used; the primer provides all the power.- Inexpensive practice :...

, which are used as simulation aids.

Animal waxes

  • Beeswax
    Beeswax
    Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

     - produced by honey bee
    Honey bee
    Honey bees are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis...

    s
  • Chinese wax
    Chinese wax
    Chinese wax is a white to yellowish-white, gelatinous, crystalline water-insoluble substance obtained from the wax secreted by certain insects.It resembles spermaceti but is harder, more friable, and with a higher melting point...

     - produced by the scale insect
    Scale insect
    The scale insects are small insects of the order Hemiptera, generally classified as the superfamily Coccoidea. There are about 8,000 species of scale insects.-Ecology:...

     Ceroplastes ceriferus
  • Earwax
    Earwax
    Earwax, also known by the medical term cerumen, is a yellowish waxy substance secreted in the ear canal of humans and other mammals. It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection from bacteria, fungi, insects and water...

     - found in the human
    Human
    Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

     ear.
  • Lanolin
    Lanolin
    Lanolin , also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep...

     (wool wax) - from the sebaceous glands of sheep
  • Shellac
    Shellac
    Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes , which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish...

     wax - from the lac insect Kerria lacca
    Kerria lacca
    Kerria lacca is a species of scale insect of the family Kerriidae. It is most well known for secreting lac, a scarlet substance that is used for dyeing wool and silk, as a cosmetic, and as a medicinal drug. Kerria lacca insects inhabit trees in colonies of thousands and secrete the resinous...

  • Spermaceti
    Spermaceti
    Spermaceti is a wax present in the head cavities of the sperm whale . Originally mistaken for the whales' sperm , spermaceti is created in the spermaceti organ inside the whale's head and connected to its nasal passage...

     - from the head cavities and blubber of the sperm whale
    Sperm Whale
    The sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, is a marine mammal species, order Cetacea, a toothed whale having the largest brain of any animal. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal's head. The sperm whale is the only living member of genus Physeter...


Vegetable waxes

  • Bayberry wax
    Bayberry wax
    Bayberry wax is an aromatic green vegetable wax. It is removed from the surface of the fruit of the bayberry shrub Myrica faya by boiling the fruits in water and skimming the wax from the surface of the water...

     - from the surface wax
    Epicuticular wax
    In botany, the plant cuticle is covered by epicuticular wax or bloom mainly consistingof straight-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons with a variety of substituted groups, serving to decrease moisture loss and decay...

     of the fruits
    Drupe
    In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

     of the bayberry shrub, Myrica faya
    Myrica faya
    Myrica faya is a species of Myrica, native to Macaronesia , and possibly also southern Portugal....

  • Candelilla wax
    Candelilla wax
    Candelilla wax is a wax derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, Euphorbia cerifera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica, from the family Euphorbiaceae...

     - from the Mexican shrubs Euphorbia cerifera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica
  • Carnauba wax
    Carnauba wax
    Carnauba , also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, and Rio Grande do Norte. It is known as "queen of waxes" and usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown...

     - from the leaves of the Carnauba palm, Copernica cerifera
  • Castor wax
    Castor wax
    Castor wax, also called hydrogenated castor oil, is a hard, brittle, vegetable wax. It is produced by the hydrogenation of pure castor oil, in the presence of a nickel catalyst...

     - catalytically hydrogenated castor oil
    Castor oil
    Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean . Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. Its boiling point is and its density is 961 kg/m3...

  • Esparto wax - a byproduct of making paper from esparto grass, (Macrochloa tenacissima)
  • Japan wax
    Japan wax
    Japan wax is a pale-yellow, waxy, water-insoluble solid with a gummy feel, obtained from the berries of certain sumacs native to Japan and China, such as Rhus verniciflua and R. succedanea ....

     - a vegetable triglyceride
    Triglyceride
    A triglyceride is an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids. There are many triglycerides, depending on the oil source, some are highly unsaturated, some less so....

     (not a true wax), from the berries of Rhus and Toxicodendron species
  • Jojoba oil
    Jojoba oil
    Jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced in the seed of the jojoba plant, a shrub native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. The oil makes up approximately 50% of the jojoba seed by weight....

     - a replacement for spermaceti
    Spermaceti
    Spermaceti is a wax present in the head cavities of the sperm whale . Originally mistaken for the whales' sperm , spermaceti is created in the spermaceti organ inside the whale's head and connected to its nasal passage...

    , jojoba is pressed from the seeds of the jojoba
    Jojoba
    Jojoba, pronounced , is a shrub native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of Arizona, California, and Mexico. It is the sole species of the family Simmondsiaceae, placed in the order Caryophyllales. It is also known as goat nut, deer nut, pignut, wild hazel, quinine nut, coffeeberry, and gray box...

     bush, Simmondsia chinensis
  • Ouricury wax
    Ouricury wax
    Ouricury wax is a brown-colored wax obtained from the leaves of a Brazilian Feather Palm Syagrus coronata or Cocos coronata by scraping the leaf surface.-Harvesting:...

     - from the Brazilian feather palm, Syagrus coronata
    Syagrus coronata
    The Licuri Palm, Syagrus coronata, is a species of palm tree that plays an important role in the diets of tropical rainforest animals...

    .
  • Rice bran wax
    Rice bran wax
    Rice bran wax is the vegetable wax extracted from the bran oil of rice .-Chemical Composition:The main components of rice bran wax are aliphatic acids and higher alcohol esters. The aliphatic acids consist of palmitic acid , behenic acid , lignoceric acid , other wax acids, etc...

     - obtained from rice
    Rice
    Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

     bran
    Bran
    Bran is the hard outer layer of grain and consists of combined aleurone and pericarp. Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains, and is often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of refined grains. When bran is removed from grains, the grains lose a portion of their...

     (Oryza sativa)
  • Soy wax - from soybean oil

Mineral waxes

  • Ceresin
    Ceresin
    Ceresin is a wax derived from ozokerite by a purifying process....

     waxes
  • Montan wax
    Montan wax
    Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax obtained by solvent extraction of certain types of lignite or brown coal. Commercially viable deposits exist in only a few locations, including Amsdorf, Germany, and in the Ione Basin near Ione, California.-Properties:Its color ranges...

     - extracted from lignite
    Lignite
    Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, or Rosebud coal by Northern Pacific Railroad,is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat...

     and brown coal
  • Ozocerite - found in lignite beds
  • Peat wax
    Peat wax
    Peat Wax is a dark waxy substance extracted from peat using organic solvents. It is very similar to the coal derived Montan wax and therefore has similar properties and uses. Raw peat wax is typically a mixture of three primary components, namely asphalt, resins and wax....

    es

Petroleum waxes

  • Paraffin wax - made of long-chain alkane
    Alkane
    Alkanes are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and carbon atoms and are bonded exclusively by single bonds without any cycles...

     hydrocarbon
    Hydrocarbon
    In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

    s
  • Microcrystalline wax
    Microcrystalline wax
    Microcrystalline waxes are a type of wax produced by de-oiling petrolatum, as part of the petroleum refining process. In contrast to the more familiar paraffin wax which contains mostly unbranched alkanes, microcrystalline wax contains a higher percentage of isoparaffinic hydrocarbons and...

     - with very fine crystalline structure
  • Petroleum jelly
    Petroleum jelly
    Petroleum jelly, petrolatum, white petrolatum or soft paraffin, CAS number 8009-03-8, is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons , originally promoted as a topical ointment for its healing properties...


Synthetic waxes

  • Polyethylene waxes - based on polyethylene
    Polyethylene
    Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

  • Fischer-Tropsch waxes
  • Chemically modified waxes - usually esterified or saponified
    Saponification
    Saponification is a process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye. In technical terms, saponification involves base hydrolysis of triglycerides, which are esters of fatty acids, to form the sodium salt of a carboxylate. In addition to soap, such traditional saponification processes...

  • substituted amide waxes
  • polymerized α-olefins

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