Industrial paraffin wax production:
Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or oil shale, that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms. It is solid at room temperature and begins to melt above approximately 37 °C (99 °F); its boiling point is >370 °C (698 °F).
The feedstock for paraffin is slack wax, which is a mixture of oil and wax, a byproduct from the refining of lubricating oil.
The first step in making paraffin wax is to remove the oil (de-oiling or de-waxing) from the slack wax. The oil is separated through crystallization. Most commonly, the slack wax is heated, mixed with one or more solvents such as a ketone and then cooled. As it is cooled, wax crystallizes out leaving oil in solution. This mixture is filtered into two streams: solid (wax plus some solvent) and liquid (oil and solvent). After the solvent is recovered by distillation, the resulting products are called “product wax” (or “press wax”) and “foots oil”. The lower the percentage of oil in the wax the more refined it is considered (semi-refined versus fully refined)The product wax may be further processed to remove colors and odors. The wax may finally be blended together to give certain desired properties such as melt point and penetration. Paraffin wax is sold in either liquid or solid form
Slack wax is a mixture of oil and wax. It is the product, which serves as GFECORP feedstock and that is further refined and blended to create value-added petroleum wax products. Slack Wax product line provides a broad range of melting points and physical characteristics for use as blending components or waterproofing agents in the manufacture of various industrial products such as candles, polishes, synthetic fire logs, matches, inks, weed bars, carbon paper, canvass coatings, and composite wood panels. Applied externally, these waxes can also function as good dust suppressants and/or controlled-release agents for various chemicals and fertilizers.
A semi-refined wax, distinguished from scale wax by having generally higher oil content. Semi-refined slack waxes may have oil contents up to 30 mass percent. Slack waxes with oil content below 10 mass percent are used for manufacture of religious candles. Slack wax is the crude wax produced by chilling and solvent filter-pressing wax distillate. There are basically three types of slack wax produced, the type depending on the viscosity of the lube oil being de waxed: low neutral, medium neutral and heavy neutral.
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