Paraffin Wax In Industry

Paraffin or alkane

is the common name for all saturated, aliphatic hydrocarbons of the chemical formula CnH2n+2. At room temperature and pressure the first four members of the normal series (Methane , Ethane , Propane and Butane) are gases, the next thirteen are liquids, while the rest are solids. The paraffin are the least toxic of all hydrocarbons . The name paraffin is also commonly used for an oily petroleum distillate, which is a mixture of hydrocarbons. It is believed that the perceived chemical inertness of the compounds led to the name paraffin from parum (little) and affinis (related).

Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or 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.

Properties

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 Ethen benzan, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents but burns readily. Its heat of combustion is 42 kJ/g.

The hydrocarbon C31H64 is a typical component of paraffin wax.

Paraffin wax is an excellent electrical insulator , with a resistivity of between 10 and 10 ohm meter. This is better than nearly all other materials except some plastics .

Paraffin wax is an excellent material for storing heat, with a specific heat capability of 2.14 g−1 K−1 and a heat of 200 , 220 J g−1. This property is exploited in modified drywall for home building material: a certain type of wax (with the right melting point) is infused in the drywall during manufacture so that it melts during the day, absorbing heat, and solidifies again at night, releasing the heat. Paraffin wax phase-change cooling coupled with retractable radiators was used to cool the electronics of the Lunar Rover. Wax expands considerably when it melts and this allows its use in wax thermostatic element for industrial, domestic and, particularly, automobile purposes.

Manufacturing

The feedstock for paraffin is slack wax which is a mixture of oil and wax, a byproduct from the refining of lubricating oil.

The first step in making paraffin wax is to remove the oil (DE-oiling or DE-waxing) from the slack wax. The oil is separated through crystallization. Most commonly, the slack wax is heated, mixed with one or more solvents such as a ketone and then cooled. As it is cooled, wax crystallizes out leaving oil in solution. This mixture is filtered into two streams: solid (wax plus some solvent) and liquid (oil and solvent). After the solvent is recovered by distillation, the resulting products are called "product wax" (or "press wax") and "foots oil". The lower the percentage of oil in the wax the more refined it is considered (semi-refined versus fully refined). The product wax may be further processed to remove colors and odors. The wax may finally be blended together to give certain desired properties such as melt point and penetration. Paraffin wax is sold in either liquid or solid form.

Applications

In industrial applications, it is often useful to modify the crystal properties of the paraffin wax, typically by adding branching to the existing carbon backbone chain. The modification is usually done with additives . The branched properties result in a modified paraffin with a higher viscosity, smaller crystalline structure, and modified functional properties. Pure paraffin wax is rarely used for carving original models for casting metal and other materials in the lost wax process, as it is relatively brittle at room temperature and presents the risks of chipping and breakage when worked. Soft and pliable waxes, like bees wax, may be preferred for such sculpture, but "investment casting  waxes," often paraffin-based, are expressly formulated for the purpose.

In a pathology laboratory, paraffin wax is used to impregnate tissue prior to sectioning thin samples of tissue. Water is removed from tissue through ascending strengths of alcohol (75% to absolute) and the tissue is cleared in an organic solvent such as xylene. The tissue is then placed in paraffin wax for a number of hours and then set in a mold with wax to cool and solidify; sections are cut then on a microtome.

  • Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or 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. It is distinct from kerosene, another petroleum product that is sometimes called paraffin.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

In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane, indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the liquid phase past approximately 37 °C (99 °F). The simplest paraffin molecule is that of methane, CH4, a gas at room temperature. Heavier members of the series, such as octane, C8H18, and mineral oil appear as liquids at room temperature. The solid forms of paraffin, called paraffin wax, are from the heaviest molecules from C20H42 to C40H82. Paraffin wax was identified by Carl Reichenbach in 1830. Paraffin, or paraffin hydrocarbon, is also the technical name for an Alkane in general, but in most cases it refers specifically to a linear, or normal alkane — whereas branched, or isoalkanes are also called isoparaffins. It is distinct from the fuel known in the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa as paraffin oil or just paraffin, which is called kerosene in most of the U.S. , Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The name is derived from Latin parum ("barely") + affinis, meaning "lacking affinity" or "lacking reactivity" indicating paraffin's unreactive nature)

Major Industries

The candle, packaging, thermostat and distillation industries are all major users of wax.

Specialized Industries

Following is just a short list of the specialized industrial uses of wax. 

Inks

Waxes for PVC Manufacture

APP and APO Products

K-TAC, Baymel, and Numel

Barrier Coating

Petroleum based waxes and wax blends can be applied to numerous surfaces to reduce unwanted penetration or interactions of numerous liquids (water, grease, etc) and gases (oxygen, etc.).

Batteries

Amorphous poly alpha olefins are used in the construction of marine and off-road batteries to provide secure bonding and a measure of moisture protection.

Board Sizing

Petroleum based waxes are applied in molten or emulsion form to provide moisture repellent to wood composite boards (oriented strand, particle, hardboard, gypsum, and medium density fiberboard)

Bottle Cap Liner

Petroleum waxes can be utilized to coat and secure cap liners into plastic caps. The wax serves to form a watertight seal between the bottle and the outer cap to reduce leaking if the bottle is overturned.

Caulking Compound

Petroleum waxes are used in the formulation of caulks and sealants to enhance process ability and functionality.

Chewing Gum Base

Paraffin wax is used to bind ingredients and serve as a rheology modifier to impart "chew" characteristics. Occasionally, microcrystalline waxes are blended to modify these properties as well. Go to our Paraffin wax and Microcrystalline wax sections.

Corrosion Inhibitor

Petroleum waxes possess excellent film forming and water repellant properties making them valuable components in rust preventative formulations.

Cosmetics (General)

Petroleum waxes serve as safe base material, solvent or carrier to provide moisture barrier, modify viscosity, or solidify formulations.

Crayons

Paraffin waxes serve as a pigment binder. They assist in the transfer of the pigment from the crayon to the desired substrate.

Dental Wax

Paraffin waxes and wax blends are formulated to be high quality premium modeling waxes for use in dentistry. The waxes are usually provided by specialty businesses that utilize the paraffin and microcrystalline waxes with other materials to make a finished dental wax

Drink Cups

Petroleum waxes provide structural rigidity and reduce liquid penetration through the paper substrate.

Explosives

Paraffin wax is used in dynamite wrappers as a moisture barrier. Micro crystalline waxes are used as a desensitize in the manufacture of detonating fuses.

Fabric Finishing

Paraffin waxes and wax blends can be applied to fabric to add desired characteristics such as "drape", wrinkle or moisture resistance.

Firelogs

Petroleum waxes (primarily slack waxes) are used to bind compressed wood particles and maintain shape. Waxes ease ignition of the product and support the burn properties.

Floor Polishes

Petroleum based waxes enhance the gloss and buff ability characteristics of a polish or paste primarily for wood floors.

Insulating Wax

Paraffin waxes are utilized in numerous electrical applications as a result of their insulating capabilities.

Investment Casting

Paraffin and micro crystalline waxes serve as binders in investment casting "waxes" and assist in the removal of the blend after the mold is produced. Investment casting waxes offer exceptional dimensional stability required in precision castings of metals.

Leather Treating

Crude scale and paraffin waxes are employed to soften and impart water repellent to leather goods.

Metal Coatings

Paraffin and crude scale waxes can be used on the surface of metals during production and shipping to provide lubrication and serve as a protective barrier (acid etching or moisture).

Paint and Varnish Removers

Crude scale and paraffin waxes reduce the evaporation of solvents prolonging their efficiency.

Physiotherapy

Low melt paraffin and crude scale waxes are used in physiotherapy to provide heat to an injured area. Waxes permit a greater release of heat for a longer period than water, completely surrounds the part being treated and the patient does not need to remain in a fixed position.

PVC Lubricant

Paraffin waxes provide external lubrication during the extrusion of PVC.

Road Marking Paint

Petroleum waxes and atactic poly alpha olefins function as fillers and binders in thermoplastic road marking paints and tapes.

Rodenticides

Paraffin and crude scale waxes are used as binding agents for the active ingredients in rodenticides.

Shoe Polishes

Petroleum based waxes enhance the gloss and buff characteristics of a polish or paste.

Ski Wax

Paraffin waxes permit skiers to achieve much greater speeds through the production of a uniform, unblemished surface. Waxes are applied to the snow / ski interface to fill all voids in the ski base. The surface wax must be removed as it will actually stick to snow crystals reducing achievable speeds. The finished product is often a formulation of paraffin, micro crystalline, and natural waxes.

Stop-Off Wax for Etching

Paraffin or crude scale waxes are used to prevent "acid etching" of metals by forming a protective covering which later on can be easily removed.

Textile Treatment

Petroleum waxes are utilized in textile treatment to provide lubrication, resisting penetration of water or other liquids, and impacting the feel, look, or performance of the finished product.

Tissue Embedding

Paraffin wax has been used as an embedding medium in the study of tissue for over 100 years. It is a good embedding medium for routine histology because it can thoroughly permeate the tissue in its liquid form (when warm), and it solidifies (when cooled) with little damage to the tissue.

Toilet Bowl Gaskets

Crude scale and microcrystalline waxes are formed into rings designed to seal the connection between the toilet base and the drain flange.

Vine Grafting

Vine grafting is the process of bringing two different grape vines together. After a graft is made, some covering must be used to keep it from drying out. A special elastomeric material (grafting tape) can be wound around the graft, or the more economical approach is to dip or brush on a wax blend.

Fully refined paraffin waxes typically have a low oil content (below .5% by weight), good color (+28 min ASTM), and are very hard. Most will meet FDA requirements 178.3710 (for use in contact with food) and 172.886 (for use in food). These types of waxes offer a variety of beneficial properties in numerous applications.
Fully refined paraffin waxes typically have a low oil content (below .5% by weight), good color (+28 min ASTM), and are very hard. Most will meet FDA requirements 178.3710 (for use in contact with food) and 172.886 (for use in food). These types of waxes offer a variety of beneficial properties in numerous applications.

Performance Products

  • Use of additives to enhance performance (except for mottling and palm waxes)
  • Able to accommodate higher fragrance loads
  • Excellent burn and mold release properties Uses of paraffin
  • They are a thermoplastic material, solid at room temperature which is applied molten and sticks to the surface on cooling. The strength of the instantaneous joint obtained has allowed high-speed machinery to be developed for its application in areas such as shoe manufacture, packaging, furniture or nappy or cigarette manufacturing.

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