Paraffin, or otherwise saturated hydrocarbons or alkanes, is a mixture of hydrocarbons forming part of the residue of the crude petroleum fractional distillation. The name is due to its low chemical activity. Taken from the residue of the oil distillation, which in the start is purified by repeated treatments with sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid and washing with water. Finally is purified by overheated vapor and decolorized with charcoal. The wax is distinguished according to the melting point in soft (melting point 45-50oC), a hard (melting point 50-60oC) and liquid or liquid paraffin.


In general there are three categories of origin:

  • From the residue treated fractional distillation of oil (in lubricant fractions)
  • From plant / animal origin (e.g. soy, beeswax, acid / stearin steatic)
  • Synthetic paraffins


From these sources different types of wax can be produced ,depending on the desired properties and uses. Critical factors for the separation of paraffins are the following:

  • Content in Oil
  • Colour
  • Odor
  • Hardness
  • Melting point

The first 3 factors, besides the intent of use, essentially determine the extent of paraffin’s treatment as follows:

  • Fully refined: oil content <0,5%, colour> 28 (saybolt), no odor
  • Semi refined: oil content: 1,5%, colour <25 (saybolt), light odor

The hardness and the melting point substantially determine the use of paraffin and having nothing  to do with the quality thereof.


Paraffins sold by LPC are separated in Ultra quality category and the Prime quality category on the basis of the above qualitative characteristics of fully or semi refined.

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