Category: 

What is Carnauba Wax?

Surfers use water resistant carnauba wax on their boards.
Carnauba wax is a strong wax that is made from the carnauba palms of Brazil.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Dolphins have the most teeth of any mammal, sometimes over 260, yet they almost never chew their food.  more...

October 20 ,  1973 :  The "Saturday Night Massacre"  more...

Carnauba wax is a botanical product used in a large number of industries. Sometimes called the "Queen of Wax," it has a much higher melting point than other waxes and is also extremely hard. This makes it ideal for creating extremely strong coatings for floors, automobiles, and other things that see hard wear. In addition, this wax appears in candies, polishes, varnishes, cosmetic products, and in many other places. Although carnauba wax has largely been replaced by synthetics, it is still produced and used in many parts of the world.

A Brazilian tree formally named Copernicia prunifera, and otherwise known as the fan or carnauba palm, is the source for carnauba wax. The palm has broad fan-like leaves attached to toothed stalks. In hot, dry weather, the plant secretes wax to protect the leaves from damage. People who want to collect the wax dry the leaves and then beat them to dislodge the yellowish to brown coating, which usually flakes off. The wax is refined and bleached before it is used. Carnauba palms can live in extreme environments because of their protective coating, making them an excellent choice of crop for farmers working with poor soil and weather conditions.

Ad

A temperature of 172°F (78°C) is required to melt carnauba wax. It is also not readily soluble. Water cannot break down a layer of this wax, and only certain solvents can, usually in combination with heat. This means that it is highly durable. Used plain, it can make something waterproof and wear resistant. Combined with things such as tints and dyes, it can be used to create an enduring colored polish. Eventually, hard wear will strip the wax from most surfaces, but a fresh layer can be reapplied. In older homes with hardwood floors and fixtures, carnauba wax was probably used on them as a conditioner at some point.

The substance is often used instead of, or in combination with, other waxes because of how strong it is. Many surfers, for example, use waxes for their boards that integrate carnauba. It is also used to coat paper plates, dental floss, and as a vegetarian alternative to gelatin. In the pharmaceutical industry, this wax frequently appears as a tablet coating, and it is used in a number of packaged foods. Unlike many other waxes, a carnauba finish will not flake off with time, it will merely become dull. This makes it ideal for locations where a flaking finish would look unsightly.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon294594
Post 16

It is in Kellogg's Fruit snacks! And in many other food products.

anon262404
Post 14

I would like to know the solubility of carnauba wax rather than solvents for polishing of sugar coated tablets in pharmaceutical industries.

anon157298
Post 12

Can I use carnauba wax as a cleaner/sealer on pool cue shafts that are maple, ash or laminated maple.

babar
Post 11

how can we turn carnauba wax water soluble? How can we make car shampoo with carnauba wax?

anon116386
Post 10

Why do they have to put it in food? Why? Why? Why?

anon111359
Post 9

Can you please elaborate on theuse of carnauba wax in the pharmaceutical industry?

anon94015
Post 8

is it used in soft drinks?

anon91962
Post 7

Why is carnauba wax used in candy? Is it harmful and can it cause constipation?

anon82461
Post 6

does carnuba wax contain any animal origin?

saravanan
Post 5

IS Is it safe to eat wax coated apples? specify the ill effects of eating WAX coated fruits?

anon32379
Post 2

What is the purpose for using Carnauba wax in the making of candy?

anon18488
Post 1

I would like to know thermal properties of carnauba wax products (specific heat and thermal conductivity versus temperature), where could I get them?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email