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Waxes are a diverse class of
organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s that are
lipophilicLipophilicity (from Greek language, Greek λίπος "fat" and :wikt:φίλος, φίλος "friendly"), refers to the ability of a chemical compound to dissolve in fats, oils, lipids, and non-polar solvents such as hexane or toluene. Such non-polar ...
,
malleable Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically a ...
solids near ambient temperatures. They include
higher alkanes Higher alkanes are alkanes having nine or more carbon atoms. Nonane is the lightest alkane to have a flash point above 25 °C, and is not classified as dangerously Flammable liquid, flammable. The term ''higher alkanes'' is sometimes used lite ...
and
lipid In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
s, typically with
melting point The melting point (or, rarely, liquefaction point) of a substance is the temperature Temperature ( ) is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can b ...

melting point
s above about 40 °C (104 °F), melting to give low
viscosity The viscosity of a fluid In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, ...

viscosity
liquids. Waxes are
insoluble In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of atom ...

insoluble
in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents. Natural waxes of different types are produced by plants and animals and occur in
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

petroleum
.


Chemistry

Waxes are organic compounds that characteristically consist of long
aliphatic In organic chemistry, hydrocarbon In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen che ...
alkyl In organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, pr ...

alkyl
chains, although aromatic compounds may also be present. Natural waxes may contain unsaturated bonds and include various
functional group In organic chemistry, a functional group is a substituent or moiety (chemistry), moiety in a molecule that causes the molecule's characteristic chemical reactions. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reactions re ...
s such as
fatty acids In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in ...
,
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...

primary
and
secondary alcohol upright=0.8, The bond angle between a hydroxyl group (-OH) and a chain of carbon atoms (R) In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, ...

secondary alcohol
s,
ketones In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo duri ...

ketones
,
aldehydes Chemically, an aldehyde is a compound containing a functional group In organic chemistry, a functional group is a substituent or moiety (chemistry), moiety in a molecule that causes the molecule's characteristic chemical reactions. The same fu ...

aldehydes
and fatty acid
ester An ester is a derived from an (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH group is replaced by an –O– () group, as in the substitution reaction of a and an . s are s of ; they are important in biology, being one of the main classe ...

ester
s. Synthetic waxes often consist of
homologous seriesIn organic chemistry, a homologous series is a sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order theory, order matters. Like a Set (mathematics), set, it contains Element (mathemati ...
of long-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons (
alkane In , an alkane, or paraffin (a historical that also has ), is an . In other words, an alkane consists of and atoms arranged in a structure in which all the s are . Alkanes have the general chemical formula C''n''H2''n''+2. The alkanes rang ...
s or paraffins) that lack
functional group In organic chemistry, a functional group is a substituent or moiety (chemistry), moiety in a molecule that causes the molecule's characteristic chemical reactions. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reactions re ...
s.


Plant and animal waxes

Waxes are
synthesized Synthesis or synthesize may also refer to: Science Chemistry and biochemistry *Chemical synthesis, the execution of chemical reactions to form a more complex molecule from chemical precursors **Organic synthesis, the chemical synthesis of or ...

synthesized
by many plants and animals. Those of animal origin typically consist of
wax ester A wax ester (WE) is an ester An ester is a derived from an (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH group is replaced by an –O– () group, as in the substitution reaction of a and an . s are s of ; they are important in biology ...
s derived from a variety of fatty acids and carboxylic alcohols. In waxes of plant origin, characteristic mixtures of unesterified hydrocarbons may predominate over esters. The composition depends not only on species, but also on geographic location of the organism.


Animal waxes

The best-known animal wax is
beeswax foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned m ...

beeswax
used in constructing the
honeycomb A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal prismatic wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that ...

honeycomb
s of beehives, but other insects also secrete waxes. A major component of beeswax is myricyl palmitate which is an
ester An ester is a derived from an (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH group is replaced by an –O– () group, as in the substitution reaction of a and an . s are s of ; they are important in biology, being one of the main classe ...

ester
of
triacontanol 1-Triacontanol (''n''-triacontanol) is a fatty alcohol Fatty alcohols (or long-chain alcohols upright=0.8, The bond angle between a hydroxyl group (-OH) and a chain of carbon atoms (R) In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipli ...

triacontanol
and
palmitic acid Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC ) is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations t ...

palmitic acid
. Its melting point is 62-65 °C.
Spermaceti Spermaceti (from Greek ''sperma'' meaning "seed", and '' ceti'', the genitive form of "whale") is a wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal roller ...

Spermaceti
occurs in large amounts in the head oil of the
sperm whale #REDIRECT Sperm whale #REDIRECT Sperm whale#REDIRECT Sperm whale The sperm whale or cachalot (''Physeter macrocephalus'') is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator Predation is a biological interaction where ...

sperm whale
. One of its main constituents is
cetyl palmitate Hexadecyl hexadecanoate, also known as Cetyl palmitate, is the ester derived from hexadecanoic acid and hexadecanol. This white waxy solid is the primary constituent of spermaceti, the once highly prized wax found in the skull of sperm whales.Wilhe ...

cetyl palmitate
, another ester of a
fatty acid In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
and a
fatty alcohol Fatty alcohols (or long-chain alcohols) are usually high-molecular-weight, straight-chain primary alcohols, but can also range from as few as 4–6 carbons to as many as 22–26, derived from natural fats and oils. The precise chain length varies w ...
.
Lanolin Lanolin (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
is a wax obtained from wool, consisting of esters of
sterol Sterol is an organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic compounds are known. The study of the properties, reactions, and synth ...

sterol
s.Wilhelm Riemenschneider1 and Hermann M. Bolt "Esters, Organic" Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2005, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim.


Plant waxes

Plants secrete waxes into and on the surface of their cuticles as a way to control evaporation, wettability and hydration. The
epicuticular wax Epicuticular wax is a coating of wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipophi ...
es of plants are mixtures of substituted long-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, containing alkanes, alkyl esters, fatty acids, primary and secondary alcohols,
diol A diol is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element held together by chemical ...

diol
s, ketones and aldehydes.EA Baker (1982) Chemistry and morphology of plant epicuticular waxes. In The Plant Cuticle. Ed. DF Cutler, KL Alvin, CE Price. Academic Press. From the commercial perspective, the most important plant wax is
carnauba wax Carnauba (; pt, carnaúba ), also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse cla ...

carnauba wax
, a hard wax obtained from the Brazilian palm ''
Copernicia prunifera ''Copernicia prunifera'' or the carnaúba palm or carnaubeira palm () is a species of palm tree native to northeastern Brazil (mainly the states of Ceará, Piauí, Maranhão, Rio Grande do Norte and Bahia). Known by many as 'tree of life' because ...
''. Containing the ester myricyl cerotate, it has many applications, such as confectionery and other food coatings, car and furniture polish, floss coating, and surfboard wax. Other more specialized vegetable waxes include
jojoba oil Jojoba oil is the liquid produced in the seed of the ''Simmondsia chinensis'' (jojoba Jojoba (; : ''Simmondsia chinensis'')also goat nut, deer nut, pignut, wild hazel, quinine nut, coffeeberry, and gray box bushis native to the Southwestern ...
,
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''. It is yellowish ...
and ouricury wax.


Modified plant and animal waxes

Plant and animal based waxes or oils can undergo selective chemical modifications to produce waxes with more desirable properties than are available in the unmodified starting material. This approach has relied on green chemistry approaches including olefin metathesis and enzymatic reactions and can be used to produce waxes from inexpensive starting materials like vegetable oils.


Petroleum derived waxes

Although many natural waxes contain esters, paraffin waxes are hydrocarbons, mixtures of alkanes usually in a
homologous seriesIn organic chemistry, a homologous series is a sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order theory, order matters. Like a Set (mathematics), set, it contains Element (mathemati ...
of chain lengths. These materials represent a significant fraction of petroleum. They are refined by . Paraffin waxes are mixtures of saturated n- and iso- alkanes, naphthenes, and alkyl- and naphthene-substituted aromatic compounds. A typical alkane paraffin wax chemical composition comprises hydrocarbons with the general formula C''n''H2''n''+2, such as , C31H64. The degree of branching has an important influence on the properties.
Microcrystalline wax Microcrystalline waxes are a type of wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipo ...
is a lesser produced petroleum based wax that contains higher percentage of isoparaffinic (branched) hydrocarbons and naphthenic hydrocarbons. Millions of tons of paraffin waxes are produced annually. They are used in foods (such as chewing gum and cheese wrapping), in candles and cosmetics, as non-stick and waterproofing coatings and in polishes.


Montan wax

Montan wax Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), m ...
is a fossilized wax extracted from coal and
lignite Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft, brown, combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langu ...

lignite
. It is very hard, reflecting the high concentration of saturated
fatty acid In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s and alcohols. Although dark brown and odorous, they can be purified and bleached to give commercially useful products.


Polyethylene and related derivatives

, about 200 million kilograms of polyethylene waxes were consumed annually. Polyethylene waxes are manufactured by one of three methods: # The direct polymerization of ethylene, potentially including co-monomers also; # The thermal degradation of high molecular weight polyethylene resin; # The recovery of low molecular weight fractions from high molecular weight resin production. Each production technique generates products with slightly different properties. Key properties of low molecular weight polyethylene waxes are viscosity, density and melt point. Polyethylene waxes produced by means of degradation or recovery from polyethylene resin streams contain very low molecular weight materials that must be removed to prevent volatilization and potential fire hazards during use. Polyethylene waxes manufactured by this method are usually stripped of low molecular weight fractions to yield a flash point >500°F (>260°C). Many polyethylene resin plants produce a low molecular weight stream often referred to as Low Polymer Wax (LPW). LPW is unrefined and contains volatile oligomers, corrosive catalyst and may contain other foreign material and water. Refining of LPW to produce a polyethylene wax involves removal of oligomers and hazardous catalyst. Proper refining of LPW to produce polyethylene wax is especially important when being used in applications requiring FDA or other regulatory certification.


Uses

Waxes are mainly consumed industrially as components of complex formulations, often for coatings.Uwe Wolfmeier, Mr. Hans Schmidt, Franz-Leo Heinrichs, Georg Michalczyk, Wolfgang Payer, Wolfram Dietsche, Klaus Boehlke, Gerd Hohner, Josef Wildgruber "Waxes" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002. . 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. Polyethylene waxes are incorporated into inks in the form of dispersions to decrease friction. They are employed as
release agent A release agent (also mold release agent, release coating, or mold release coating) is a chemical used to prevent other materials from bonding to surfaces. It can provide a solution in processes involving mold release, die-cast release, plastic ...
s, find use as slip agents in furniture, and confer corrosion resistance.


Candles

Waxes such as
paraffin wax Paraffin wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, ...

paraffin wax
or
beeswax foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned m ...

beeswax
, and hard fats such as
tallow Tallow is a rendering (industrial), rendered form of beef or mutton fat, primarily made up of triglycerides. In industry, tallow is not strictly defined as beef or mutton fat. In this context, tallow is animal fat that conforms to certain techni ...

tallow
are used to make
candle A candle is an ignitable candle wick, wick embedded in wax, or another flammable solid substance such as tallow, that provides light, and in some cases, a Aroma compound, fragrance. A candle can also provide heat or a method of keeping time. ...

candle
s, used for lighting and decoration. Another fuel type used in candle manufacturing includes
soy The soybean or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume native to East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, ...
. Soy wax is made by the hydrogenation process using soybean oil.


Wax products

Waxes are used as finishes and coatings for wood products. Beeswax is frequently used as a lubricant on drawer slides where wood to wood contact occurs.


Other uses

Sealing wax Sealing wax is a wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic compounds are known. The st ...
was used to close important documents in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
.
Wax tablet A wax tablet is a tablet made of wood and covered with a layer of wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of ...
s were used as writing surfaces. There were different types of wax in the Middle Ages, namely four kinds of wax (,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
,
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
, and
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
n), "ordinary" waxes from
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
, and
Riga Riga (; lv, Rīga , liv, Rīgõ, ) is the capital of Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links ...

Riga
, unrefined waxes and colored waxes (red, white, and green). Waxes are used to make
wax paper Waxed paper (also wax paper or paraffin paper) is paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical s ...
, impregnating and coating paper 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 (or boot polish) is a waxy , , or that is used to polish, , and s or s to extend the 's life and restore its appearance. Shoe polishes are distinguished by their textures, which range from liquids to hard waxes. Solvent, waxes, a ...

shoe polish
es, wood polishes, and automotive polishes, as mold release agents in mold making, as a coating for many
cheese Cheese is a dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and conta ...

cheese
s, and to
waterproof Waterproofing is the process of making an object or structure waterproof or water-resistant so that it remains relatively unaffected by water or resisting the ingress of water under specified conditions. Such items may be used in wet environme ...

waterproof
leather and fabric. Wax has been used since antiquity as a temporary, removable model in
lost-wax casting On the left is an example of a rubber mould, often used in the lost-wax process, and on the right is the finished bronze sculpture. Lost-wax casting (also called " investment casting", "precision casting", or ''cire perdue'' which has been ad ...
of
gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

gold
,
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

silver
and other materials. Wax with colorful pigments added has been used as a medium in encaustic painting, and is used today in the manufacture of
crayon A crayon (or wax pastel) is a stick of pigment A pigment is a colored material that is completely or nearly insoluble in water. In contrast, dyes are typically soluble, at least at some stage in their use. Generally dyes are often organic c ...
s, and colored
pencil A pencil is a writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was or ...

pencil
s.
Carbon paper Carbon paper (originally carbonic paper) was originally paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Ch ...

Carbon paper
, used for making duplicate
typewritten A typewriter is a mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system, a system that manages the power of forces and movements to accomplish a task * Machine (mechanical), a system of mechanisms that shape the actuator input to achi ...

typewritten
documents was coated with
carbon black Carbon black (subtypes are acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black and thermal black) is a material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occ ...

carbon black
suspended in wax, typically
montan wax Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), m ...
, but has largely been superseded by
photocopier A photocopier (also called copier or copy machine, and formerly Xerox machine, the generic trademark A generic trademark, also known as a genericized trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark A trademark (also written trade mark ...
s and
computer printer In computing, a printer is a peripheral machine which makes a persistent representation of graphics or text, usually on paper. While most output is human-readable, bar code printers are an example of an expanded use for printers. The differen ...
s. In another context,
lipstick Lipstick is a cosmetic that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many colors and types of lipstick exist. Some lipsticks are also lip balms, to add both color and hydration. Although the name originally applied to the baton (s ...

lipstick
and
mascara Mascara is a Cosmetics, cosmetic commonly used to enhance the eyelashes. It may darken, thicken, lengthen, and/or define the eyelashes. Normally in one of three forms—liquid, powder, or cream—the modern mascara product has various formulas; ...
are blends of various fats and waxes colored with pigments, and both
beeswax foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned m ...

beeswax
and
lanolin Lanolin (from Latin 'wool', and 'oil'), also called wool yolk, wool wax, or wool grease, is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep Domestic sheep#Breeds, breeds that are ...
are used in other
cosmetics Cosmetics are constituted mixtures of chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and take ...
.
Ski wax Ski wax is a material applied to the bottom of snow runners, including ski A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than wide and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are att ...
is used in
skiing Skiing is the use of ski A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than wide and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are attached to ski boot Ski boots are used in to p ...

skiing
and
snowboarding Snowboarding is a recreational and competitive activity that involves descending a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard Snowboards are boards where both feet are placed, and most times secured, to the same board, which are wider ...

snowboarding
. Also, the sports of surfing and
skateboarding Skateboarding is an extreme sport, action sport originating in the United States that involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard, as well as a recreational activity, an art form, an entertainment industry Profession, job, and a ...

skateboarding
often use wax to enhance the performance. Some waxes are considered food-safe and are used to coat wooden cutting boards and other items that come into contact with food. Beeswax or coloured synthetic wax is used to decorate
Easter egg#REDIRECT Easter egg Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, and Egg of Easter are eggs that are sometimes Egg decorating, decorated. They are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of E ...

Easter egg
s in
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
and the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
.
Paraffin wax Paraffin wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, ...

Paraffin wax
is used in making chocolate covered sweets. Wax is also used in
wax bullet , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipophilic, malleability, malleable solids nea ...
s, which are used as simulation aids.


Specific examples


Animal waxes

*
Beeswax Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic c ...

Beeswax
- produced by
honey bee A honey bee (also spelled honeybee) is a eusocial flying insect within the genus ''Apis'' of the bee clade, all native to Eurasia. They are known for their construction of wiktionary:perennial, perennial Colony (biology), colonial nests from B ...

honey bee
s *
Chinese waxChinese wax is a white to yellowish-white, gelatinous, crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents (such as atoms, molecules, or ions) are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal ...
- produced by the
scale insect Scale insects are small insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as L ...

scale insect
''Ceroplastes ceriferus'' *
Lanolin Lanolin (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
(wool wax) - from the
sebaceous gland A sebaceous gland is a microscopic exocrine Exocrine glands are gland In animals, a gland is a group of cells in an animal's body that synthesizes substances (such as hormone A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is a ...
s of
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
*
Shellac Shellac () is a resin In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly Viscosity, viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic co ...
wax - from the
lac insect ''Kerriidae'' is a family of Coccoidea, scale insects, commonly known as lac insects or lac scales. Some members of the genera ''Metatachardia'', ''Tachardiella'', ''Austrotacharidia'', ''Afrotachardina'', ''Tachardina'', and ''Kerria'' are raise ...

lac insect
''
Kerria lacca ''Kerria lacca'' is a species of insect in the family Kerriidae, the lac insects. These are in the superfamily scale insect, Coccoidea, the scale insects. This species is perhaps the most commercially important lac insect, being a main source of ...
'' *
Spermaceti Spermaceti (from Greek ''sperma'' meaning "seed", and '' ceti'', the genitive form of "whale") is a wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal roller ...

Spermaceti
- from the head cavities and blubber of the
sperm whale #REDIRECT Sperm whale #REDIRECT Sperm whale#REDIRECT Sperm whale The sperm whale or cachalot (''Physeter macrocephalus'') is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator Predation is a biological interaction where ...

sperm whale


Vegetable waxes

* Bayberry wax - from the surface wax of the
fruits In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...
of the bayberry shrub, ''
Myrica faya ''Myrica faya'' (firetree, faya or haya; syn. ''Morella faya'' (Ait.) Wilbur) is a species of ''Myrica ''Myrica'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification ...

Myrica faya
'' *
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''. It is yellowish ...
- from the Mexican shrubs ''
Euphorbia cerifera ''Euphorbia antisyphilitica'' is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. It is native to the Trans-Pecos of Texas and southern New Mexico in the United States as well as Chihuahua (state), Chihuahua, Coahuila, Hidalgo (sta ...
'' and ''
Euphorbia antisyphilitica ''Euphorbia antisyphilitica'' is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. It is native to the Trans-Pecos of Texas and southern New Mexico in the United States as well as Chihuahua (state), Chihuahua, Coahuila, Hidalgo (sta ...

Euphorbia antisyphilitica
'' *
Carnauba wax Carnauba (; pt, carnaúba ), also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse cla ...

Carnauba wax
- from the leaves of the Carnauba palm, ''
Copernicia cerifera ''Copernicia prunifera'' or the carnaúba palm or carnaubeira palm () is a species of palm tree native to northeastern Brazil (mainly the states of Ceará, Piauí, Maranhão, Rio Grande do Norte and Bahia). Known by many as 'tree of life' becaus ...
'' *
Castor wax Castor wax, also called hydrogenated Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical substanc ...
- catalytically hydrogenated
castor oil Castor oil is a vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance ...

castor oil
* Esparto wax - a byproduct of making paper from
esparto grass Esparto, halfah grass, or esparto grass is a fiber produced from two species of perennial grasses of north Africa and southern Europe. It is used for crafts, such as Rope, cords, basketry, and espadrilles. ''Stipa tenacissima'' and ''Lygeum spart ...
, (''Macrochloa tenacissima'') *
Japan wax Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an indi ...

Japan wax
- a vegetable
triglyceride A triglyceride (TG, triacylglycerol, TAG, or triacylglyceride) is an ester An ester is a derived from an (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH group is replaced by an –O– () group, as in the substitution reaction of a an ...

triglyceride
(not a true wax), from the berries of ''Rhus'' and ''Toxicodendron'' species *
Jojoba oil Jojoba oil is the liquid produced in the seed of the ''Simmondsia chinensis'' (jojoba Jojoba (; : ''Simmondsia chinensis'')also goat nut, deer nut, pignut, wild hazel, quinine nut, coffeeberry, and gray box bushis native to the Southwestern ...
- a liquid
wax ester A wax ester (WE) is an ester An ester is a derived from an (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH group is replaced by an –O– () group, as in the substitution reaction of a and an . s are s of ; they are important in biology ...
, from the seed of ''Simmondsia chinensis''. * Ouricury wax - from the Brazilian feather palm, ''
Syagrus coronata ''Syagrus coronata'', commonly known as the Ouricury palm, aricuri palm, or licuri palm, is a species of palm tree that plays an important role in the diets of tropical seasonally dry forest animals. It is native to eastern Brazil, ranging from t ...

Syagrus coronata
''. * Rice bran wax - obtained from rice bran (''Oryza sativa'') * Soy wax - from soybean oil * Tallow Tree wax - from the seeds of the tallow tree ''Triadica sebifera''.


Mineral waxes

* Ceresin waxes *
Montan wax Montan wax, also known as lignite wax or OP wax, is a hard wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), m ...
- extracted from
lignite Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft, brown, combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langu ...

lignite
and brown coal * Ozocerite - found in lignite beds * Peat waxes


Petroleum waxes

*
Paraffin wax Paraffin wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, ...

Paraffin wax
- made of long-chain
alkane In , an alkane, or paraffin (a historical that also has ), is an . In other words, an alkane consists of and atoms arranged in a structure in which all the s are . Alkanes have the general chemical formula C''n''H2''n''+2. The alkanes rang ...
hydrocarbons *
Microcrystalline wax Microcrystalline waxes are a type of wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipo ...
- with very fine crystalline structure


See also

* Slip melting point * Wax argument or the "ball of wax example", is a thought experiment originally articulated by Renė Descartes.


References


External links


Waxes
{{Authority control Waxes, Petroleum products Plant products Animal products Lipids Esters Soft matter