Paraffin wax

Paraffin wax
Identifiers
  • 8002-74-2
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.375
E number E905 (glazing agents, ...)
UNII
Properties
CnH2n+2
Appearance White solid[1]
Odor Odorless[1]
Boiling point > 370 °C (698 °F)
~1 mg/L[1]
Hazards
Flash point 200–240 °C (392–464 °F; 473–513 K)[1]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references
Paraffin candle

Paraffin wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum, coal or oil 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),[2] and its boiling point is above 370 °C (698 °F).[3] Common applications for paraffin wax include lubrication, electrical insulation, and candles;[4] dyed paraffin wax can be made into crayons. It is distinct from kerosene and other petroleum products that are sometimes called paraffin.[5]

Un-dyed, unscented paraffin candles are odorless and bluish-white. Paraffin wax was first created by Carl Reichenbach in Germany in 1830 and marked a major advancement in candlemaking technology, as it burned more cleanly and reliably than tallow candles and was cheaper to produce.[6]

In chemistry, paraffin is used synonymously with alkane, indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. The name is derived from Latin parum ("very little") + affinis, meaning "lacking affinity" or "lacking reactivity", referring to paraffin's unreactive nature.[7]