Deutsch: Paraffin / Español: Parafina / Português: Parafina / Français: Paraffine / Italiano: Paraffina

Paraffin in the industrial context refers to a group of hydrocarbons known as alkanes, typically derived from petroleum. Paraffin can refer broadly to solid forms commonly known as paraffin wax, or to liquid forms such as paraffin oil (kerosene). In industries, paraffin is utilized for its excellent chemical inertness, water resistance, and electrical insulation properties.


Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal, or oil shale. It's known for its low melting point and excellent thermal stability, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. Paraffin oil, often referred to as kerosene, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid used as fuel in heating, cooking, and in jet engines.

Application Areas

Paraffin has numerous uses in various industrial sectors:

  • Candle Making: Paraffin wax is a primary material for candle manufacturing due to its excellent burn qualities.
  • Coating and Packaging: Used in waxed paper, polishes, and electrical insulators due to its water-resistant properties.
  • Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals: Paraffin wax is used in creams, lotions, and ointments as a moisturizing agent.
  • Food Industry: Used as a coating for candies and to seal out air in airtight packaging.
  • Lubrication: Paraffin oil is used as a lubricant in various mechanical and industrial applications.
  • Fuel: Paraffin oil is extensively used as a fuel for jet engines, heating, and in portable stoves.

Well-Known Examples

  • Paraffin-embedded tissue samples: In histology, paraffin wax is used to embed tissue sections for microscopic examination and diagnosis.
  • Votive Candles: Many of these candles are made from paraffin wax due to its solid consistency and reliable burning characteristics.
  • Jet Fuel: Paraffin oil (kerosene) is a major component of fuel used in aviation.

Treatment and Risks

Handling and utilizing paraffin, particularly in industrial environments, involves several considerations:

  • Health and Safety: Paraffin wax can emit harmful fumes when burned, which may be toxic if inhaled in large quantities.
  • Environmental Impact: Spills of paraffin oil can lead to significant environmental damage, affecting water sources and wildlife.
  • Quality Control: Ensuring the purity of paraffin waxes and oils is crucial to maintain product performance and safety.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with safety regulations and standards is essential, especially when paraffin is used in food packaging or cosmetics.

Similar Terms

  • Alkanes: The chemical group to which paraffins belong, consisting of saturated hydrocarbons.
  • Wax: While paraffin wax is a specific type of wax, the term "wax" can refer to any similar fatty or resinous substance that is solid at ambient temperatures and liquid when heated.



In the industrial context, paraffin refers to both solid waxes and liquid oils derived from petroleum that are used across a wide array of sectors. From energy to cosmetics and food production, paraffin’s versatile properties make it a valuable commodity in various applications. However, managing its health, safety, and environmental impacts is crucial for sustainable industrial use.


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