Title: Carnauba Wax
CAS Registry Number: 8015-86-9
Additional Names: Brazil wax
Literature References: An exudate from the pores of the leaves of the Brazilian wax palm tree Copernicia prunifera (Muell.) H. E. Moore [Copernicia cerifera (Arruda da Camara) Mart.], Palmae. The botany of the tree and the native wax-collecting procedures are described adequately by A. H. Warth, The Chemistry and Technology of Waxes (Reinhold, New York, 1947). The hardness and high-polish capability of this important wax can be ascribed to the presence of esters of hydroxylated unsaturated fatty acids having about 12 carbon atoms in the acid chain. The usual names for the constituents, i.e. cerotic acid, melissyl cerotate, carnaubic acid etc., are meaningless. Brief review: C. S. Letcher in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology vol. 24 (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 3rd ed., 1984) pp 469-470.
Properties: Hard greenish solid, cryst fracture. Sharp, characteristic, not unpleasant odor upon melting. mp 82-85.5°. d 0.990 to 0.999. Saponification number 78 to 89. Iodine number about 13. nD90 1.4500. Sparingly soluble in fat solvents at 25°, quite sol at 45°.
Melting point: mp 82-85.5°
Index of refraction: nD90 1.4500
Density: d 0.990 to 0.999
Use: Wherever a hard, high-polish wax is desired, e.g. in automobile waxes, floor wax emulsions, high quality shoe polishes, in the paper industry (especially for making carbon papers). As a plasticizer in dental impression compounds. To raise the melting point of other waxes; often used together with candelilla wax. The presence of the lower-melting ouricury wax is considered as an adulteration. Purified and bleached carnauba wax is used for cosmetic materials, such as depilatories and deodorant sticks. In pharmacy as the last stage in tablet coating. Skin sensitization or irritation by carnauba wax seems infrequent.