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Different types of wax

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:52 PM

[: Chemically, a wax is a type of lipid that may contain a wide variety of long-chain alkanes, esters, polyesters and hydroxy esters of long-chain primary alcohols and fatty acids. They are usually distinguished from fats by the lack of triglyceride esters of glycerine (propan-1, 2, 3-triol) and three fatty acids. In addition to the esters that contribute to the high melting point and hardness of carnauba wax, the epicuticular waxes of plants are mixtures of substituted long-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, containing alkanes, fatty acids, primary and secondary alcohols, diols, ketones, aldehydes .Paraffin waxes are hydrocarbons, mixtures of alkanes usually in a homologous series of chain lengths.] [1]

Waxes are natural substances (animal or vegetable) or synthetic materials solid at ambient temperature (20C.-25C.). They are insoluble in water, soluble in oils and are capable of forming a water repellant film. These include Carnauba wax (extract of Copemrica Cerifera), Candelilla wax (extract of Euphobies Cerifera and Pedilantus pavonis)

Alfa wax (extract of Stipa tenacissima), Montan wax, polyethylene wax, paraffin wax, oxidized paraffin wax, ozokerite, vegetable waxes such as olive tree wax, rice wax, hydrogenated jojoba wax or absolute waxes of flowers such as the essential wax of cassis flower; animal waxes such as beeswax, or modified beeswax (cerabellina).

Wax Formulation

• Water – 30-60%
• Petroleum –based solvents -15-40%
• Polishing abrasives) -10-30%
• Natural and/or synthetic waxes - 0-5%
• Silicone polymers - 0-5%
• Surfactants - 1-5%
• Additives - 0-3% (i.e. fragrance, thickeners, preservatives, etc.) Source - Modern Car Care magazine

Wax specifications such as melt point, penetration, and oil content are controlled primarily by the amount of solvent added, the rate of cooling and the temperature from the crystallization process. Additional compounds are added (resins, polymers etc) to give specific properties to the wax such as durability, flexibility and gloss.

Wax Properties

Waxes are typically quality controlled (ASTM Standards) with regard to the following physical properties: melt point, oil content, penetration, viscosity and colour.

Wax (basic components)

Although somewhat more complex than other products, waxes and sealants only involve very basic chemistry, when a chemist formulates a wax or sealant, several factors are taken into account; ease of application and removal, cleaning and / or filling ability (if required), depth of gloss, shine, durability and resistance to rain / detergents / car wash concentrate.

Unfortunately, no one wax or sealant product can meet all of the above characteristics. If one characteristic is emphasized and / or enhanced, it will be to the detriment of another. For example, increased durability means that application and removal can be more difficult. Or, if cleaning capability is emphasized, the depth of shine will decrease.

The best wax or sealant to use is one that provides as many of the characteristics as possible to achieve a shiny, durable finish. Because the ingredients for each of these features work against each other innovative chemistry and a creative chemist are needed

1. Solvents or mineral oils- used for chemical cleaning, and as a carrier system, it also makes products workable and to provide spread ability, as is the case with Carnauba wax, which in its natural state is rock hard.
2. Emulsifiers - to stabilize the product and make it easier to use
3. Oil – to provide surface lubrication (often an emulsion of water and silicone oil)
4. Very light abrasives - Diatomaceous earth to provide mild cleaning and to aid the wax in drying consistently for easy wipe-off
5. Surfactant- defined as a material that can greatly reduce the surface tension of liquids and to provide a soft and smooth consistency
6. Silicone- is primarily used to modify or improve certain characteristics; i.e. shine, or added as a lubricant to enhance application.
7. Colouring- purely aesthetic / marketing
8. Fragrance- appealing fragrances help to sell the product
9. Polymers - most waxes are formulated with, amongst other things; polymer resins that once cured provide transparency and improve longevity
10. Natural clay – used as a filler

The unique structure makes these products very effective when used in additive amounts to modify the properties of paraffin wax, primarily for use in candles. The products can increase the hardness and opacity of the paraffin with minimal impact on cloud point or viscosity.
Organic waxes

Beeswax has been traded for over 2000 years; references to "wax" before the 19th century typically meant beeswax. Yellow beeswax is secreted by bees to build honeycombs; the empty comb is melted in boiling water to recover the wax. Yellow beeswax can be bleached with oxidizing agents to white beeswax, a product favoured in the cosmetic industry.

The composition of beeswax varies widely with geography and the diet of the bees forming the combs, but typical components are C25-C31 hydrocarbons, esters of C30 -C32 alcohols with C16 acids and free C25 - C31 carboxylic acids. Beeswax polish is made by putting equal amounts of beeswax and turpentine in a container, with a lid to stop evaporation, and leaving it in a warm area where the wax will dissolve into the turpentine

Candelilla wax is harvested from shrubs grown in the Mexican states of Coahuila and Chihuahua and in Texas. The entire mature plant is uprooted and immersed in boiling water acidified with sulphuric acid; the wax floats to the surface for recovery. Principal markets for Candelilla wax include cosmetics, food and pharmaceuticals. Other vegetable-based waxes include Japan wax, produced on the berries of a small tree native to Japan and China

Ouricury wax, obtained from the fronds of another palm tree growing in Brazil; Rice-bran wax, extracted from crude rice bran; and Jojoba, obtained from the seeds of the jojoba plant grown in parts of Costa Rica, Israel, Mexico and the United States.

Môntan wax is a microcrystalline or petroleum wax, it’s derived by solvent extraction of lignite. The earliest production of Môn tan wax on a commercial scale was in Germany during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and Germany continues to lead the world in production of Môn tan wax; some Môn tan wax is produced in the United States from the Ione lignite bed in California. The composition of Môn tan wax varies geographically with production, but includes varying amounts of wax, resin and asphalt.

The largest traditional use for Môn tan wax is in the formulation of carbon paper inks. The decrease in use of carbon paper resulted in Môn tan wax being further refined for use in the formulation of polishes and as plastics lubricants. Môn tan wax is hard and brittle and has a high melt point; its properties are similar to those of natural plant waxes such as carnauba, which it can replace.

Other mineral waxes include peat waxes, Ozokerite and Ceresin waxes. Peat waxes are similar to Môn tan waxes in that they contain wax, resin and asphalt, but Môn tan waxes contain 50% more wax in proportion to peat waxes. Ozokerite wax was a product of Poland, Austria and the former USSR where it was mined.

True Ozokerite is no longer produced but has been replaced with blends of petroleum-derived paraffin and micro-crystalline waxes designed to meet specific applications once filled by Ozokerite.

Most of the waxes described so far can be characterized by a higher degree of difficulty required to recover and purify them in significant quantity. Waxes derived from petroleum are much easier to recover, and offer a wide range of physical properties that can often be tailored by refining processes. Most producers offer two distinct types of petroleum waxes: paraffin’s, distinguished by large, well formed crystals and micro-crystalline, higher melting waxes with small, irregular crystals. Some producers also sell "intermediate" wax, the boiling range cut where the transition in crystal size and structure occurs.

Non-Organic waxes

Petroleum wax
Producers also characterize wax by degree of refinement: fully refined paraffin has oil content generally less than .5%, and fully-refined micro-crystalline less than 1.5%; "slack wax" - precursors to the fully refined versions in either case would have oil content above 2 and as high as 35% by weight.

Paraffin wax
Produced from petroleum is essentially a pure mixture of normal and iso-alkanes without the esters, acids, etc. found in the animal and vegetable-based waxes.

Waxes are a type of wax produced by de-oiling petrolatum, as part of the petroleum refining process. In contrast to the more familiar paraffin wax which contains mostly un-branched alkanes, microcrystalline wax contains a higher percentage of isoparaffinic (branched) hydrocarbons and naphthenic hydrocarbons. Microcrystalline wax is often used in industries such as the tire and rubber, candles, adhesives, corrugated board, cosmetics, castings, and a host of others.

Kerosene (kerosene)
Is a flammable hydrocarbon liquid, the name is derived from Greek "keros" (κηρός wax). It is commonly called paraffin oil or paraffin. It is used as a solvent and is an excellent lubricant.

Synthetic waxes
Entered the wax market in the last 50 years or so, they are usually formulated from Polydimethylsiloxane (PDS) or Dimethicone) silicon, which is a basically inert, water based, amino functional polymer resin, Carnauba wax and also contain substantial proportions of branched and cyclic saturated hydrocarbons in addition to normal alkenes. These synthetic waxes are more durable than organic Carnauba. All synthetic waxes have the same basic structure, but the various production processes yield products with distinctly different properties, and these have a major impact on the use of products

Products from one manufacturer may satisfy one particular application, while product from a similar process will not work well at all. Major uses include hot-melt adhesives for applications requiring high-temperature performance, additives to improve the processing of plastics, and slip and rub additives for inks, paints and cosmetics. The word wax usually refers to a variety of organic substances that are solid at ambient temperature but become free-flowing liquids at slightly higher temperatures.

The chemical composition of waxes is complex, but normal alkenes are always present in high proportion, and molecular weight profiles tend to be wide. The main commercial source of wax is crude petroleum, but not all crude oil refiners produce wax.
Waxes will last indefinitely, provided that they are stored in the refrigerator once opened. The liquid products should last 18 months if stored at normal room temperature.

Note- many waxes and polymer sealants actually look better after 24 hours and /or an initial post-application wash
Unless you are using a cleaner-wax there is no need to use pressure on the applicator, just enough to make contact with the surface should suffice. Order of product application- hood- roof-trunk from front to back and, where practical, the quarter panels- door panels- and bumpers from top to bottom. Washing, claying and waxing that way effects the way light reflects off the body panels and is also less likely to show the surface marring or swirls that you will invariably make.

Edited by TOGWT, 31 December 2011 - 06:03 AM.

Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki

#2 muncher


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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:15 PM

Wow, awesome information! Curious then...what is the best type to use on your car's painted surface?

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Edited by muncher, 27 February 2012 - 08:00 PM.



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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:17 AM

The answer would be dependent upon your detailing goals –

a) For depth of shine - Carnauba wax (also provides a sacrificial and easily renewable barrier against airborne contaminants (Swissvax, Zymöl, and Pinnacle Souverän especially on Red, Black and Yellow paint

B) For clarity - long term durability and protection apply a polymer sealant (Zaino Z2PRO™ + ZFX™ Flash Cure Accelerator Additive) to a carefully prepared level, clean paint surface.

c) Optically perfect shine – apply an optically clear polymer sealant and add a Carnauba wax, a Glaze or Zaino Z-8™ Grand Finale Spray Seal as a last step product (LSP).

d) High heat conditions - a polymer sealant, one that includes a UVR protection (Zaino) and a sacrificial wax (Collinite (actually a polymer/wax) Liquid Insulator Wax (No. 845) or G Techniq Crystal Lacquer 3S nanotech

e) Harsh winter – Klasse All In One (AIO) Klasse Sealant Glaze (SG) x 2, Collinite # 845 Liquid Insulator Wax or # 476s Super Doublecoat Auto Wax x 2. If you apply a final layer of wax without buffing it will provide more protection / durability (especially for vehicle storage purposes). Collinite Marque D’ Elegance (915) Wax for darker colours)

f) The final result can only be as good as the surface it’s applied to. It really is all dependants upon, process over product; 85% surface preparation, 5% product suitability, 7% application methodology and the balance is in the ‘guy’ of the beholder. The other variables are; a detailer’s knowledge of the paint type, experience with a given product and skill level and experience with machine polisher.

g) My personal favourite organic waxes (in no particular order) - Swissvax Concorso / Best of Show, Zymöl Vintage Estate Glaze, Pinnacle Souverän™ Paste Carnauba Wax, P21S® (R222®) Carnauba Wax and Victoria Concours Red Wax )

h) Use a polymer for durability – use an organic wax for depth of shine- best of both worlds, a polymer sealant with a Carnauba wax LSP

i) Long-term durability - If you need long-term durability for a daily driver then consider a coating type product (Opti-Coat™) its durability is measured in years as opposed to months. It can be topped with a wax if desired

An organic wax also provides a sacrificial surface that will resist acid (salt brine, bird excrement, acidic rain, etc) better than a polymer, which forms a molecular bond with the paint, whereas a an organic wax forms a semi-hard protective shell (although it lacks durability)

Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki

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