Synthesized by the Fischer–Tropsch process from carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which are catalytically converted to a
mixture of paraffin hydrocarbons. The lower molecular weight fractions are removed by distillation and the residue is hydrogenated
and further treated by percolation through activated charcoal.
Paraffin wax, also commonly called ‘paraffin’, is a colourless or white, tasteless, odourless,
translucent waxy solid. Paraffin wax has a typical melting point between about 46°C and
68°C. Pure paraffin wax is a combustible substance and insoluble in water but soluble in
petroleum solvents and stable under normal conditions of use. Paraffin has been identified
as an excellent electrical insulator. It is also used in the manufacturing of paraffin papers,
candles, food packaging materials, varnishes, floor polishes, to extract perfumes from
flowers, in lubricants, and cosmetics. It is also used in water-proofing wood, and cork.
Exposures to paraffi n for a prolonged period cause several types of skin disorders, The
adverse health effects to skin include chronic dermatitis, wax boils, folliculitis, comedones,
papules, melanoderma, and hyperkeratoses. Studies of Hendricks et al. indicated the
development of carcinoma of the scrotum in workers exposed to crude petroleum wax.
Carcinoma of the scrotum in occupational workers began with a normal hyperkeratotic
nevus-like lesion, which subsequently resulted in a squamous cell carcinoma.
Paraffin wax, may be incompatible with strong oxidizing agents. Charring may occur followed by ignition of unreacted portion and other nearby combustibles. In other settings, mostly unreactive. Not affected by aqueous solutions of acids, alkalis, most oxidizing agents, and most reducing agents. When heated sufficiently or when ignited in the presence of air, oxygen or strong oxidizing agents, they burn exothermically.
A skin and eye irritant. Questionable carcinogen with experimental tumorigenic data by implant route. Many paraffin waxes contain carcinogens. Fumes cause lung damage. See also PARAFFIN HYDROCARBONS.
A solid mixture of hydrocarbons,
obtained from petroleum.
White translucent tasteless odorless solids. Density 0.88- 0.92 g / cm3. Insoluble in water. Melting range 47-65°C. Used in candles, lubricants, crayons, floor polishes, cosmetics, chewing gum.
Air & Water Reactions
Insoluble in water.
cholinergic receptor antagonist Hygroscopic
Paraffin is an odorless and tasteless, translucent, colorless, or white
solid. It feels slightly greasy to the touch and may show a brittle
fracture. Microscopically, it is a mixture of bundles of microcrystals.
Paraffin burns with a luminous, sooty flame. When melted, paraffin
is essentially without fluorescence in daylight; a slight odor may be
Paraffin wax, or hard
wax, is a mixture of solid hydrocarbons, mainly alkanes.
Paraffinwaxcan beadded to medicinal agents. Petroleumwax
and petrolatum are the only hydrocarbons permitted for use in
food products. Paraffin wax is used as a household wax and
extensively as a coating for food containers and wrappers.
Paraffin is generally regarded as an essentially nontoxic and
nonirritant material when used in topical ointments and as a
coating agent for tablets and capsules. However, granulomatous
reactions (paraffinomas) may occur following injection of paraffin
into tissue for cosmetic purposes or to relieve pain. Long-term
inhalation of aerosolized paraffin may lead to interstitial pulmonary
disease. Ingestion of a substantial amount of white soft paraffin has
led to intestinal obstruction in one instance.
Paraffin is stable, although repeated melting and congealing may
alter its physical properties. Paraffin should be stored at a
temperature not exceeding 40°C in a well-closed container.
Paraffin is manufactured by the distillation of crude petroleum or
shale oil, followed by purification by acid treatment and filtration.
Paraffins with different properties may be produced by controlling
the distillation and subsequent congealing conditions.
Synthetic paraffin, synthesized from carbon monoxide and
hydrogen is also available;
A white, practically tasteless and odorless wax that is very hard at room temperature. It is soluble in hot hydrocarbon
Hot wax can burn eyes and skin.
Paraffi n wax is colorless or white with an odorless mass. It consists of a mixture of solid
aliphatic hydrocarbons. Paraffi n is used in the manufacture of paraffi n papers, candles,
food packaging materials, varnishes, fl oor polishes, to extract perfumes from fl owers, in
lubricants, and cosmetics. It is also used in waterproofi ng wood and cork.
Paraffin is mainly used in topical pharmaceutical formulations as a
component of creams and ointments. In ointments, it may be used to
increase the melting point of a formulation or to add stiffness.
Paraffin is additionally used as a coating agent for capsules and
tablets, and is used in some food applications. Paraffin coatings can
also be used to affect the release of drug from ion-exchange resin
Paraffin wax is white, somewhat translucent, odorless, and
Accepted in the UK for use in certain food applications. Included in
the FDA Inactive Ingredients Database (oral capsules and tablets,
topical emulsions, and ointments). Included in nonparenteral medicines licensed in the UK. Included in the Canadian List of
Acceptable Non-medicinal Ingredients.