Wax

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Wax (more precisely Beeswax) is a chemical substance. It is used by honeybees to build honeycombs. Beeswax (and other waxes) have the following properties:

  • They are soft, and easy to shape at room temperature
  • Their melting point is above 45 °C
  • They cannot be dissolved in water
  • They are hydrophobic, that is repelled by water.

Some waxes, like beeswax, carnauba (a vegetable wax), and paraffin (a petroleum wax) occur naturally. Another such wax is earwax, which occurs in the human ear. Other waxes may be manufactured.

Chemically, a wax may be an ester of ethylene glycol (ethan-1,2-diol) and two fatty acids. A fat is an ester of glycerin (propan-1,2,3-triol) and three fatty acids. A wax may also be a combination of other fatty alcohols with fatty acids. It is a type of lipid.