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Paraffin, used in the manufacture of spark plugs, lubricants and electrical insulators but also for the coating of paper and to produce cosmetics, oils, baby creams and chewing gum. It is liquid, but it can also be solid, used for oils or in stoves. Paraffin is a "multipurpose" blend that we often come across. Let's get to know it personally.
Paraffin: what it is
It is a blend of solid hydrocarbons, predominantly alkanes, characterized by molecules that have chains with more than 20 carbon atoms. The first to produce it, in 1830, was a German industrialist by the name Karl von Reichenbach. For those in the industry, we indicate that its CAS number is 92045-76-6 and its EINECS number is 295-458-3, codes for insiders.
When it was discovered by Reichenbach, this industrialist stood working with wood tar and there he found it but in truth this mixture also exists in its natural state. Among its main features it is important to remember the fact that it is slightly soluble in alcohol and acetone but quite soluble in toluene, chloroform, and xylene. Instead, it is soluble in turpentine, benzene, ethyl ether.
Oil colorless and odorless, paraffin, mix of C15-C40 hydrocarbons obtained from the distillation of petroleum, it is mainly used in the cosmetic field. In this case, his are particularly appreciated emollient properties, other features are useful when it comes used to produce lubricants, candles and chewing gum.
Paraffin in creams
The paraffin used in the creams is white petrolatum, there are also others in this "great family" which are however less refined and I am referring for example to brown petrolatum, amber petrolatum and yellow. The most refined paraffin is then used for creams, both for aesthetic and pharmaceutical use and without any danger of damage. They are in fact the brown, amber and yellow paraffins that have carcinogenic characteristics.
Thanks to paraffin the creams create one protective layer on our skin and also on the hair, if it comes to hair creams. It is a lipid film that opposes the loss of water and makes the skin smooth and soft. Paraffin-based creams are usually the recommended ones in case of dry skin and flaking. However, there is a negative side: they favor the formation of blackheads, pimples and acne-prone skin.
The pure one is not what we find in creams which is therefore refined white, slightly translucent, tasteless and odorless, greasy to the touch.
To understand how pure it is, an indication is given referring to the melting point which varies from 44 ° C to 60 ° C. The free oil content should also be evaluated, which is less than 1% if it is refined paraffins.
In this case the mix of hydrocarbons we are talking about is solidified and has a well-defined crystalline structure but it is always obtained from crude oil or, alternatively, from dry distillation of lignites, oil shale. Or by catalytic synthesis from carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
Returning to the concrete, that solid can be used together with montana wax, for example, to raise the melting point. Even when we make candles, matches, leather greases and lubricants, we use the solid version of this "mix", the same is true if we are producing a electrical insulator.
There are those who associate paraffin with stoves, and they are not completely wrong, there are paraffin stoves, commercially, too online like this , with many features that also make it green and that you can learn more in the link indicated.
When dealing with petroleum oils, the dewaxing process, indeed, it is today one of the fundamental passages because in the lubricating oils both n-paraffins, with a high melting point, and isoparaffins, with a low melting point are present.
Today the dewaxing is carried out by extraction with solvents in which, in fact, paraffin and petrolatum are not very soluble. As an oil, paraffin is used as an insecticide, under the name of "White oil".
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