carnauba wax

carnauba wax
Very hard wax obtained from fronds of the carnauba tree, Copernicia cerifera, a fan palm of Brazil.

During the regular dry seasons in Brazil, where it is called the tree of life, the carnauba palm protects its fanlike fronds from loss of moisture by secreting a coat of carnauba wax. Carnauba has been used in high-gloss polishes, phonograph records, and explosives. Synthetics have replaced it for many applications.

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also called  Brazil wax  or  ceara wax 

      a vegetable wax obtained from the fronds of the carnauba tree (Copernicia cerifera) of Brazil. Valued among the natural waxes for its hardness and high melting temperature, carnauba wax is employed as a food-grade polish and as a hardening or gelling agent in a number of products.

      The carnauba tree is a fan palm of the northeastern Brazilian savannas, where it is called the “tree of life” for its many useful products. After 50 years, the tree can attain a height of over 14 metres (45 feet). It has a dense, large crown of round, light green leaves.

      Although it has been planted in Sri Lanka and Africa, as well as other parts of South America, only in northern Brazil does the tree produce wax. During the regular dry seasons in Brazil, the carnauba palm protects its metre-long (three-foot) fronds from loss of moisture by secreting a coat of carnauba wax on the upper and lower leaf surfaces. The leaves are cut from September to March and left in the sun to dry. The powdery wax is removed (by beating the shriveled leaves), then melted, strained, and cooled. The final product is yellow or brownish green, depending on the age of the leaves and the quality of processing.

      The wax consists primarily of esters of long-chain alcohols and acids. It has a melting point of about 85° C (185° F). Although it has been replaced in many applications by cheaper synthetics, it is still used as a polish for candies and medicinal pills, as a thickener for solvents and oils, and even as a hardener for printing inks.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Carnauba wax — Carnauba (English pronunciation: /kɑːrˈnɔːbə/ or /kɑːrˈnaʊbə/), also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern …   Wikipedia

  • carnauba wax — noun hard yellowish to brownish wax from leaves of the carnauba palm used especially in floor waxes and polishes • Syn: ↑carnauba • Hypernyms: ↑wax • Substance Holonyms: ↑carnauba, ↑carnauba palm, ↑wax palm, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • carnauba wax — karnaubo vaškas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Iš vaškinės kopernicijos (Copernicia cerifera) lapų gaminamas vaškas. atitikmenys: angl. Brazil wax; carnauba wax rus. карнаубский воск …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • carnauba-wax palm — vaškinė kopernicija statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Arekinių šeimos vaistinis augalas (Copernicia prunifera), paplitęs Pietų Amerikoje. Iš jo gaunamas vaškas. atitikmenys: lot. Copernicia prunifera angl. carnauba palm; carnauba wax palm;… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • carnauba wax — noun Date: 1854 a hard brittle high melting wax obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm and used chiefly in polishes …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • carnauba wax — noun A yellow brown wax obtained from the leaves of the Brazilian carnauba palm (Copernicia prunifera); used in cosmetics, polishes etc. Syn: E903, glazing agent …   Wiktionary

  • carnauba wax — [NF] a wax obtained from the leaves of the palm Copernicia cerifera, used as a tablet coating agent …   Medical dictionary

  • wax palm — noun 1. South American palm yielding a wax similar to carnauba wax • Syn: ↑caranday, ↑caranda, ↑caranda palm, ↑Copernicia australis, ↑Copernicia alba • Hypernyms: ↑fan palm • …   Useful english dictionary

  • Wax — For other uses, see Wax (disambiguation). Cetyl palmitate, a typical wax ester …   Wikipedia

  • wax — wax1 waxable, adj. waxlike, adj. /waks/, n. 1. Also called beeswax. a solid, yellowish, nonglycerine substance allied to fats and oils, secreted by bees, plastic when warm and melting at about 145°F, variously employed in making candles, models,… …   Universalium

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