Glossary of Wax

Commonly Used Wax Terms

Beeswax
Secreted by bees and used to construct their honeycombs.

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Candelilla
Wax from the leaves of the Candelilla shrub (“little candle.”) The plants forms clusters of wax-covered stems, and are traditionally harvested to extract the thick wax coating.

Carnauba
Wax from on the lower surfaces of Carnauba palm leaves.

Congealing Point
Wax property that measures the temperature at which wax begins to “set.” Close to the solid state.

Cottonseed Wax
Wax made from hydrogenated cottonseed oil.

Crude Wax
Unrefined mixture that still contains a high percentage of oil. Used for the manufacture of scale wax and paraffin wax.

Formats
The physical forms in which bulk wax is processed for packaging, including pastilles, slabs, or liquid bulk.

Hydrogenated Triglyceride/Tallow
Waxy solids from the hydrogenation of oils and fats from animals.

Laminating
Wax is applied to printed paper and is used to bond two substrates together, such as foil to paper or paper to paper.

Melting point, Melt Points
The measure of the temperature at which wax becomes liquid.

Microcrystalline
Type of wax derived from refining heavy distillates from lubricating oil. Properties include finer and less apparent crystalline structure and complex branched hydrocarbons.

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Mineral Wax
A waxlike mineral resin that is a mixture of hydrocarbons found in connection with certain deposits of rock salt, coal, or petroleum.

Natural Wax
Waxes derived from plants, insects, and animals.

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Needle Penetration
A test performed to measure the physical hardness of wax.  Paraffin waxes can vary in hardness.  The hardness of paraffin wax may have a significant effect upon other physical properties.  The lower the number, the harder the wax.  A higher number will mean the wax is softer.

Palm
Wax derived from hydrogenating palm oil.

Paraffin
A wax derived from refining light to medium lubricating oil, can be refined to be nearly colorless and odorless. Properties include solid straight-chain hydrocarbons.

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Pastilles
Format of small wax beads.

Petrolatum
Petrolatum is the wax byproduct of heavy lubricating oil, and is filtered and blended to petroleum jelly. Properties include a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons.

Petroleum wax
Petroleum waxes are carbon based, derived from decomposed or fossilized organic matter. Separated from lubricating oil by vacuum distillation. Include Paraffin, Microcrystalline, and Petrolatum.

Rapeseed
Vegetable wax from the hydrogenation and partial hardening of rapeseed oil.

Roll-On or Dry Waxing
Wax is rolled on the sheet of paper using rollers

Slab
A format of bulk wax processed into rectangular sheets.

Slack wax
Unrefined crude wax containing a fairly high percentage of oil.

Soy Wax
Partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

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Synthetic Wax
Manmade, composed from natural gas or ethylene.

Tallow
Waxy solids from the hydrogenation of oils and fats from animals.

Vegetable Waxes
Waxes found on the leaves, stems, or fruits of some plants to protect from water loss.

Viscosity
Measure of a liquid’s resistance to flow.

Wet Waxing
A sheet of paper is immersed in the wax.  (Also known as a wax bath)