The most common form of wax that we come across is in the form of candles. If explained in chemical terminology, wax is a class of hydrocarbon made up of long alkane chains containing ester, carboxylic acid or alcohol groups. It is malleable at room temperature and melts when kept at temperatures above 45 degree Celsius to result in a low viscous liquid. It is characteristically insoluble in water, while soluble in petroleum based solvent. Wax can be secreted by both plants and animals and is industrially produced through components of fossil fuels or synthesized from petroleum-derived compounds, such as paraffin. This article entails the details of different forms of wax used to make candles.
Different Kinds Of Candle Wax
Candles, in general, are made up of paraffin wax, because it is relatively low priced. Paraffin is extracted as a byproduct of crude oil refineries. In its raw form, it is a white, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid whose melting point ranges from 110 to 150 degree Fahrenheit. The melting point of this wax determines the type of candle which can be made out of it. While those with melting point below 130 degree Fahrenheit are used for making container candles in jars, cups or glasses, paraffin with melting point higher than 150 degree Fahrenheit can be used for creating hurricane candle shells.
This category of candle is known for its natural aroma of honey and glow. It lasts longer than the paraffin wax candles, but due to its low rate of availability, it is expensive. Beeswax can be found in the market in forms of blocks, chunks, beads and sheets and do not require to be melted before being rolling into candles. Although beeswax usually comes under various shades of honey, these days it is also available in pastel and metallic shades as well.
This natural wax is the latest form of which candles are made up of. Soy wax is made up of pure natural soybean base containing no herbicides or pesticides. Unlike paraffin wax candles, soy candles burn clean leaving little or no carbon build up. It also burns evenly and around 50 percent longer than the paraffin candles. Soy wax is available in various fragrances and natural essences and since it uses pure essential oils in its making, it is an important ingredient for aromatherapy candles. A soy candle has a creamy texture and can be synthetically colored like all other waxes.
This category of environmentally friendly wax is made up of oil palm cultivated mostly in Southeast Asia. Since 1900s, oil palm has been cultivated as a commercial crop. Palm wax can easily resist melting in the hot summer months, has a high contraction level, holds on to the color and fragrance and can be easily structured into a variety of shapes and sizes. Also, palm wax can also blend well with other waxes to expand its uses.
This is a type of aromatic green vegetable wax and is extracted from the surface of the fruit of bayberry shrub called Myrica Faya. Firstly, the fruits are boiled in water and then the wax is skimmed from the surface. The bayberry wax is primarily made up of esters of lauric, myristic and palmitic acid. It is expensive and is usually mixed with beeswax before being made into candles. It has a rich natural aroma of its own and is available in olive green color.
This category of candle wax is made up of gelled mineral oils and plastic polymers. It is difficult to handle its melting and hence is not recommended for beginners, who wish to try making candles. Rubbery in texture, gel wax appears transparent with numerous small bubbles within. It forms interesting candles since various non-flammable objects such as marbles, pebbles, glitter sprinkles and wax fruit can be embedded into it. It is found to burn for at least five times longer than its paraffin counterpart.