3 Synthetic Wax Types
Many waxes come from plants and animals, but a few types of synthetic waxes are created for specific uses. These waxes are artificially synthesized using different methods and raw materials. Learn about three common synthetic wax types and their applications below.
Fatty Acid Amide Waxes
Fatty Acid Amide wax is a solid-type lubricant that can improve resin surface due to the molecule’s amide group. Fatty Acid Amide waxes include modified palm and tallow waxes. This synthetic wax type is commonly used as a lubricating aid in plastics, films and extrusions. It can reduce torque when processing resin, provide slip to surfaces or improve the fluidity of fine powder.
While most commonly used for external or internal lubrication, Fatty Acid Amide waxes can also act as an anti-blocking agent, release agent, gelling agent, dispersant or sensitizer. This chemically and thermally stable wax type provides the highest melting point among fatty acid derivatives.
Polyolefin is a class of polymers with ranging properties from liquid to solid. Its consistently low molecular weight and high degree of crystallinity help define Polyolefin’s petroleum wax-like properties. Polyolefin’s other advantages include a high melting point and excellent lubricant rate. A repeatable molecular weight range gives Polyolefin enhanced thermal stability, too.
Polyolefin waxes are created from various manufacturing processes, including thermal degradation, polymerizing and monomer synthesis. The production method can lead to varying properties in the wax blend. Variations can also depend on the polymer type, catalyst type and level of reactivity.
The most common varieties include polyethylene wax, polypropylene wax and polyamide. This hard wax type is used to modify the viscosity, hardness, appearance, melt point, surface texture and other physical properties of wax blends. Polyolefin is usually used as an additive with other wax types to obtain a particular desired effect on the finished product.
Fischer-Tropsch waxes are created by the polymerization of carbon monoxide under high pressure. High-temperature reactors can artificially synthesize this type of wax from various natural gases. Under specific conditions, the synthesis may even use catalysts to create very consistent carbon chain lengths.
This synthetic wax is one of the most popular artificial wax types. In 2010, the synthetic wax consumption in North America was 420 million pounds. Of that total, 195 million pounds was Fischer-Tropsch wax. This synthetic wax type is used at gas and coal facilities. The high melting point, high crystallinity and excellent thermal and chemical stability make Fischer-Tropsch wax extremely compatible with other types, too.
What Are the Applications of Synthetic Wax?
Synthetic wax is used in numerous industrial applications, including the manufacture of hot glues, hot melt adhesives, polymers and countless other products. They offer superior protection and longevity in the automotive, metal, rubber and textile industries.
Due to its increasing industrial role, synthetic waxes have various end-use, including:
- Coatings and polishes.
- Colored concentrates.
- Adhesives and sealants.
- Plastic processing.
- Tire and rubbers.
- Printing inks.
- Building materials.
- Packaging cosmetics.
Each synthetic wax type may offer unique benefits in specific uses. For example, Fatty Acid Amide waxes are often used as external and internal lubricating agents. Polyolefin has lots of end-use in numerous industries, from the production of colored concentrates to the modification of petroleum waxes. Meanwhile, Fischer-Tropsch waxes are ideal for printing ink, polishes, coatings, candles and a wide range of industrial applications.
Most synthetic waxes are used as releasing agents, lubricants and dispersants, among others.
Browse the Various Wax Types Available at Blended Waxes
At Blended Waxes, we utilize a diverse range of wax sources for our products — including synthetic waxes. Browse various in-house wax types that may meet your needs perfectly, or choose the custom blend route to create your unique wax. If you’re interested in learning about other wax types, visit our blog!