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From: (Bruce Hamilton)
Newsgroups: sci.chem
Subject: Re: What is a wax from a chemical point of view ?
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 17:14:17 GMT

Alan M <> wrote:

>Pierre-Nicolas Schwab wrote:
>> Can someone tell me the chemical group wax belongs to ?
>> And what is the general chemical formulae for it ?
>> Thanks in advance.
>Natural waxes belong to the hydrocarbon family.

No. only petroleum waxes are hydrocarbons, and they usually
aren't considered "natural", having been produced in a
crude oil refinery. There are several types of petroleum
waxes, but the ones most people are familiar with are the
refined paraffin waxes, which are made from longer chain
normal alkanes, usually between C15 - C50, depending on
desireed properties. Almost any text book will give the
formula for normal alkanes.

Natural waxes are usually considered to be waxes like
Carnauba ( exudate from the Brazilian wax palm tree ),
Beeswax, leaf waxes, and that stuff in your ear. Most of
these are complex chemical mixtures, often derived, at
least in part, from fatty acids, and no general formula
describes them.

A good biochemistry text, or a reference like the Merck
Index will have details.

           Bruce Hamilton

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