What’s the Difference Between Wax and Paraffin?

Chemistry, Language
[caption id="attachment_28810" align="alignright" width="480"] Not paraffin... Bees wax candles.[/caption]What's the Difference Between Wax and Paraffin? Waxes and paraffin would seem to refer to the same thing, and perhaps to some extent, the words are used interchangeably. In fact, paraffin is sometimes called paraffin wax or petroleum wax. Nevertheless, technically, they are different, and the difference should interest us. Let's begin with what a wax is. Waxes Waxes are esters1 of a long-chain alcohol2 (12 to 32 carbon atoms) with a fatty acid. One example of a long-chain alcohol is lauryl alcohol (CH3(CH2)11OH). But what is a fatty acid? A fatty acid is (typically) a carboxylic acid that has a long carbon chain3. One example is palmitic acid (CH3(CH2)14COOH). Palmitic acid is a saturated4 fatty acid. Some fatty acids are unsaturated.…
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Fat, Fatty Acids, and Omega Fatty Acids

[caption id="attachment_7752" align="alignright" width="440"] Fish are rich in 3-omega fatty acids.[/caption] "Pretty young things” run around uttering words the media have injected into their vocabulary, including among them the expression omega fatty acids. But, in fact, most of them have no idea what an omega fatty acid is. Let’s go a step further on that. They don’t know what any kind of fatty acid is. In fact, ask them to define what fat is, and they will only be able to describe it and tell you where you can obtain some, not they haven’t a clue as to what it actually is. But that is OK. One doesn’t need to know every aspect of a subject to be able to function. You needn't know the workings of a computer to…
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