Wax, known as Beeswax, is used in many places of human life. According to the oldest documents known, it was used in Ancient Egypt BC 3000 as a protector layer of mummies.
Beeswax is a very complex compound having several types. Its hard and solid structure changes into liquid form by high temperature.
The most popular types are the solid and liquid wax mixed with some solvents. Basic oils, pure oils, dye materials, fabric dyes and other mixture materials occur by other wax formulas. Most of the producers forms their own mixture formulas and do not let anyone know it.
It provides protection from acid, humidity, dirt, air pollution and ultraviolet light. It decreases the breakings by connecting property on the surface used. However some types may not be resistance to the effects written above. Petroleum based microcrystalline wax and macrocrystalline wax (paraffin) has high humidity proof property. Microcrystalline wax has a high level of acid and alcohol proof rate. Some types provide a high protection from ultraviolet light. While protecting from ultraviolet light, it also prevents color loss.
Penetration Test is used to determine standard hardness level in beeswax production. Measurement device gets into 1/10 mm depth from the surface of the sample prepared at a specific temperature (25 centigrade degree). As a result low penetration number means hard, high penetration numbers means soft. Penetration numbers differ according to formation structure and materials contained in wax. Also these products may have different melting temperatures.
Basic classification of wax types:
1. Animal Wax: Bee Wax and Shellac Wax
2. Botanical Wax: Carnauba, Candelilla, Ouricury and Japanese Wax
3. Mineral Wax: Montan, Ozokerite, Ceresine resin Wax
4. Petroleum Based Wax: Macrocrystalline Wax, Microcrystalline Wax (Parafin)
5. Synthetic Wax: Polyethylen
Animal Wax type is a yellow- brown colored wax type produced by honey bees to form honey chamber and home. This semi hard wax has 20 dmm penetration value at 25 C.
A botanical wax type Carnauba Wax is produced from a kind of Brazilian Carnauba Palm Tree called Copernicia Cerifira whose outside layer contains wax. This wax on the outside layer is collected twice a year on September and December. Collected wax is separated by the mechanic whisks. In each collecting season maximum 20 tree is collected but the usable Carnauba Wax is only 1 kg. The color of brand new collected and not opened wax is pale yellow. The separated and waited (at sun or in water) ones have a greeny brown color. The pale yellow ones contain high level of Carnauba. Carnauba wax is a kind of very hard natural botanic wax type. The penetration level is at 2 dmm at 25 C and 3 dmm at 43,3 C. It has a non slimy structure at melting point of 84 C. Carnauba Wax differs from other wax types by its high level of brightness, melting point, strength and oil ratio.
Candelilla Wax is produced from Candelilla syrup contained on the outside layer of Euphorbia Antisyphilitica and Pedilanthus Pavunis. These plants are generally grown at Coauhila and Chihuahuan deserts at USA and Mexica border. The plant is first heated in water, next sulfuric acid is added and then the surface is peeled off. Wax is separated after filtration. The color of the wax changes from yellow to brown and has a little sticky structure. Candelilla Wax has a softer structure than Carnauba Wax, and has a penetration level of 3 dmm at 25 C. Its melting point is 70 C. Because of its high level of brightness and close penetration level, it is possible to be used instead of Carnauba Wax.
Ouricury Wax is produced from a kind of Brazilian Palm Tree called Syagros Coronata. It has similar properties with Carnauba Wax in brightness and hardness rates; however it has a darker color and is more valuable. Its melting point is 82,5 C. It can be used instead of Carnauba Wax when dark colored wax is needed.
Montan Wax a botanical originated natural wax type produced from sediments of lignite coal and bog caol. Refined Montan Wax is produced after some operations of resin and asphalt. Its hard structure melts between 79-90 C. It may have dark brawn color through light yellow color. This wax type has a high brightness property and has a high water proof rate.
Macrocrystallinewax (paraffin wax) is a loose structured, oil free petroleum based wax type. It is produced by vaporizing oil. It has a fragile structure and has a low melting point at 46-71 C. It has a high humidity proof rate. It can be combined with other wax types.
Microcrystallinewax (paraffin wax) is produced from saturated hydrocarbon that remains from petroleum oil vapour which remains at the bottom of oil tanks. Microcrystalline wax has a smaller crystal structure than the other wax. It has a high humidity, acid and alcohol proof rate. It has a hard structure and has a penetration level smaller than 11 dmm at 25 C. Its melting point is 60-93 C.
Polyethylene Wax is a synthetic wax type produced by separation of ethylene under high or low pressure by catalytic polymerization. It has several melting points and densities. Ethylene is produced from natural gas or dissolved petroleum naphthalene. Polyethylen with high density has a melting point between 85-141 C. Polyethylen with low density has a melting point between 30-141 C. Penetration level of polyethylene changes between 7-12 dmm. It prevents corrosion.