Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
a petroleum product that consists of a mixture of predominantly straight-chain alkanes that range from nine to 40 carbon atoms in length. Isoparaffin, cycloparaffin, and naphtheno-aromatic hydrocarbons are also found in paraffin. Solid paraffin, which melts between 45° and 70°C, is primarily obtained from oily distillates of paraffin-base petroleum. In this process, the crude mixture of paraffin and oil is dewaxed by crystallization. Paraffin is also extracted from petroleum fractions through the selective adsorption of straight-chain alkanes by zeolites. Liquid paraffin, which boils off between 180° and 360°C, is obtained during the urea dewaxing of certain petroleum products. Commercial paraffin undergoes preliminary adsorbent processing and is then purified by other methods.
Because of its chemical neutrality and various other properties, paraffin is widely used in the food industry, in medicine, in the manufacture of cosmetics and perfumes, and as an insulating material in electrical engineering. It also serves as a raw material for the petrochemical industry in the manufacture of such substances as higher fatty acids, higher alcohols, and detergents. Several brands of paraffin are currently available, including fully refined paraffin, semirefined paraffin, and medicinal paraffin.
REFERENCEPereverzev, A. N., N. F. Bogdanov, and lu. N. Roshchin.
Proizvodstvo parafinov. Moscow, 1973.
I. P. LUKASHEVICH