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Paraffin

CAS Registry Number (CASRN):

8002-74-2 ,

Units of original limits:

mg/m3 ,

Conc dep:

Y ,

name:

Paraffin ,

formula:

CnH۲n+۲ ,

CAS Registry Number (CASRN):

8002-74-2 ,

SAX Number:

PAH750 ,

Units of original limits:

mg/m3 ,

Conc dep:

Y ,

HR:

2 ,

state at 25 °C:

varies ,

comment

Paraffin wax

Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable 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);[1] its boiling point is >370 °C (698 °F).[2]Common applications for paraffin wax include lubrication, electrical insulation, and candles. [3] It is distinct from kerosene, another petroleum product that is sometimes called paraffin.

Paraffin candles are odorless, and bluish-white in color. Paraffin wax was first created in the 1850s, and marked a major advancement in candle making technology, as it burned more cleanly and reliably than tallow candles, and was cheaper to produce. [4]

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.

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),[6] and a density of around 900 kg/m3.[7] It is insoluble in water, but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents but burns readily.[8] Its heat of combustion is 42 kJ/g.

History

Paraffin wax was first created in the 1850s when chemists first developed the means to efficiently separate and refine the waxy substances naturally occurring in petroleum. Paraffin represented a major advance in the candle making industry because it burned more cleanly and reliably, and was cheaper to manufacture than any other candle fuel. Paraffin wax initially suffered from having a low melting point, however, a shortcoming later remedied by the addition of harder stearic acid. The production of paraffin wax enjoyed a boom in the early 20th century as a result of the growth of the meatpacking and oil industries, which created paraffin and stearic acid as byproducts.[17]

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