Encyclopedia > Paraffin

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Paraffin is a common name for a group of high molecular weight alkane hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2, where n is an integer between 22 and 27. It is a petroleum product that is primarily used for candlemaking, and coatings for waxed paper or cloth.

It is mostly found as a white, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid, with a melting point between 47C and 65C. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents but oxidizes readily.

In the United Kingdom, the fuel known elsewhere as kerosene is called paraffin, and the solid forms of paraffin are called paraffin wax.

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