wax


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wax,

substance secreted by glands on the abdomen of the bee and known commonly as beeswax; also various substances resembling beeswax. Waxes are mixtures comprising chiefly esters of monohydroxy alcohols, besides other esters and free fatty acids, free alcohols, and higher hydrocarbons. They differ from fats in that fats contain chiefly esters of glycerol. Waxes are generally harder and less greasy than fats, but like fats they are less dense than water and are soluble in alcohol and ether but not in water. Among the waxes derived from plants are carnauba wax, obtained from the leaves of a palmpalm,
common name for members of the Palmae, a large family of chiefly tropical trees, shrubs, and vines. Most species are treelike, characterized by a crown of compound leaves, called fronds, terminating a tall, woody, unbranched stem.
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 grown in Brazil, and candelilla wax, produced by a Mexican plant (Euphorbia antisyphilitica). Those of animal origin include wool wax, or lanolin, obtained from the surface of wool fibers and used in making certain creams, ointments, and soaps, in the processes of finishing and softening leather, and as an ingredient of some paints and varnishes; spermacetispermaceti
, solid waxy substance, white, odorless, and tasteless, separated from the oils obtained from the sperm whale (see sperm oil) and other marine mammals. A mixture of esters of fatty acids, it is composed chiefly of cetyl palmitate.
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, obtained from the sperm whale, and Chinese wax, which is deposited on certain trees in parts of Asia (especially China and India) by a species of scale insect. Mineral waxes include ozocerite and paraffinparaffin,
white, more-or-less translucent, odorless, tasteless, waxy solid. It melts between 47°C; and 65°C; and is insoluble in water but soluble in ether, benzene, and certain esters. Paraffin is unaffected by most common chemical reagents but burns readily in air.
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, both composed of hydrocarbons. Japan wax and bayberry (or myrtle) wax are composed chiefly of fats.

Bibliography

See L. Roth and J. Weiner, Waxes, Waxing and Wax Modifiers (1961); H. Bennett, Industrial Waxes (2 vol., 1963); P. E. Kolattukudy, ed., Chemistry and Biochemistry of Natural Waxes (1976).

wax

[waks]
(materials)
Any of a group of substances resembling beeswax in appearance and character, and in general distinguished by their composition of esters and higher alcohols, and by their freedom from fatty acids.

wax

A thermoplastic solid material obtained from vegetable, mineral, and animal matter; soluble in organic solvents; used in paste or liquid form as a protective coating or polish on wood and metal surfaces and as an additive in paints.

wax

1. any of various viscous or solid materials of natural origin: characteristically lustrous, insoluble in water, and having a low softening temperature, they consist largely of esters of fatty acids
2. any of various similar substances, such as paraffin wax or ozocerite, that have a mineral origin and consist largely of hydrocarbons
3. short for beeswax, sealing wax
4. Physiol another name for cerumen
5. a resinous preparation used by shoemakers to rub on thread
6. bone wax a mixture of wax, oil, and carbolic acid applied to the cut surface of a bone to prevent bleeding
References in classic literature ?
Hang up at once and produce our wax," said the bees below.
To make your wax we must have stillness, warmth, and food.
When her eggs hatched, the wax was riddled with little tunnels, coated with the dirty clothes of the caterpillars.
Some bees tried the new plan for a while, and found it cost eight times more wax than the old six sided specification; and, as they never allowed a cluster to hang up and make wax in peace, real wax was scarce.
How in that ruin she blocked out a Royal Cell of sound wax, but disguised by rubbish till it looked like a kopje among deserted kopjes.
The Melipona itself is intermediate in structure between the hive and humble bee, but more nearly related to the latter: it forms a nearly regular waxen comb of cylindrical cells, in which the young are hatched, and, in addition, some large cells of wax for holding honey.
We have further to suppose, but this is no difficulty, that after hexagonal prisms have been formed by the intersection of adjoining spheres in the same layer, she can prolong the hexagon to any length requisite to hold the stock of honey; in the same way as the rude humble-bee adds cylinders of wax to the circular mouths of her old cocoons.
As soon as this occurred, the bees ceased to excavate, and began to build up flat walls of wax on the lines of intersection between the basins, so that each hexagonal prism was built upon the festooned edge of a smooth basin, instead of on the straight edges of a three-sided pyramid as in the case of ordinary cells.
The bees instantly began on both sides to excavate little basins near to each other, in the same way as before; but the ridge of wax was so thin, that the bottoms of the basins, if they had been excavated to the same depth as in the former experiment, would have broken into each other from the opposite sides.
The wax candles, which have to be stuck in bottle necks because there is nothing else to stick them in.
He had snuff because it was the eighteenth century luxury; wax candles, because they were the eighteenth century lighting; the mechanical bits of iron represent the locksmith hobby of Louis XVI; the diamonds are for the Diamond Necklace of Marie Antoinette.
The priest lighted two candles, wreathed with flowers, and holding them sideways so that the wax dropped slowly from them he turned, facing the bridal pair.