Beeswax is a substance made by honeybees. It has many useful properties, not only for the success of the hive but also as a natural ingredient for consumer products. It can be used for household items, but there are also biological benefits.
Bees play an important role in keeping our world functioning. With the amount of pollination that they do, they contribute to various animal and plant species' survival, including our own. Not only that, bee products are now an integral part of consumer products. These products are growing in popularity, and help bring attention to all the work honeybees do for nature and people.
What Is Beeswax?
Besides growing in demand as a natural alternative to plastics and synthetic chemicals, beeswax is an important material used for building the beehive. It is made to store food and house the young bee larvae. Beeswax is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which are formed into long carbon chains. This structure makes beeswax easy to sculpt once it’s been harvested and cleaned.
Worker bees make beeswax by turning their nectar and honey stores into compounds. They work together and use their small bodies to make the product. Those compounds are secreted from special glands on the bee's abdomen.
Chinese wax, also called Chinese Insect-wax, or insect wax, white or yellow-white crystalline wax, is similar to cetacean, but is harder, more brittle, and has a higher melting point. It is deposited on the branches of some trees by the scale insect Ceroplastes ceriferus (common in China and India) or a related scale insect, Ericerus pe-la (in China and Japan). Both of these scale insects belong to the order Homoptera, the order Trematodes. Insects and their secretions are collected, boiled with water, and raw wax is extracted. The bodies of the insects sink to the bottom of the water and are used as food for the pigs. Waxes in China are mainly used to make candles and polishes, and to sizing paper. In China, waxes are used in medicine. Taken internally, it is used to treat hoarseness, pain, worms, nervous tension, and to aid in the repair of broken bones. Externally, it is used as an ointment to treat wounds.
Arabic Gum is the gum that is exuded from certain trees, such as the Acacia senegal tree. It's a source of dietary fiber that can dissolve in water. Gum arabic tends to make people feel full, so they might stop eating earlier than they otherwise would. This might lead to weight loss and reduced cholesterol levels. Gum arabic is used for high cholesterol, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Microcrystalline Wax, any petroleum-derived plastic material that differs from paraffin wax by having finer and less pronounced crystals and a higher melting point and viscosity. Microcrystalline waxes are primarily used in laminated paper products, coatings and liners, as well as in adhesives, sealing compositions and various types of polishes.
Compared to paraffin wax, the properties of microcrystalline wax can vary depending on the source of crude oil and the method and degree of refining. Some are malleable, like beeswax; others are hard and brittle; and still others crumble easily during handling. The melting point range is higher than that of paraffin, and the commercial grade range is 63° to 93° C (145° to 200° F). Microcrystalline waxes vary in color from creamy white to dark brown. Decolorization is difficult, and the odor and taste of these waxes may be undesirable in some applications.
Microcrystalline waxes can be made from crude oil residue refining; or they can be made from petrolatum by removing the oil with a solvent. Their physical properties can be controlled by the temperature of the solvent. Separation methods include solvent dilution, cooling, centrifugation, filtration, and various combinations of these.
What is paraffin wax?
Fully Refined Paraffin Wax is a white or colorless soft, solid wax. It’s made from saturated hydrocarbons. It’s often used in skin-softening salon and spa treatments on the hands, cuticles, and feet because it’s colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It can also be used to provide pain relief to sore joints and muscles. Paraffin wax has many other uses, too. It’s often used as lubrication, electrical insulation, and to make candles and crayons.
Paraffin has cosmetic and therapeutic benefits.
Cosmetically, paraffin wax is often applied to the hands and feet. The wax is a natural emollient, helping make skin supple and soft. When applied to the skin, it adds moisture and continues to boost the moisture levels of the skin after the treatment is complete.
It can also help open pores and remove dead skin cells. That may help make the skin look fresher and feel smoother.
Paraffin wax may be used to help relieve pain in the hands of people with:
other joint mobility issues
Wax carving is a very old production method for jewellers and silversmiths – around 6,000 years old. It’s like sculpture for jewellery. The Special Wax itself comes in several colours, which denote the working properties – for instance blue is a good general wax, green is good for detail. It can be ﬁled, drilled and lathed, but is mostly carved. The actual technique is more like scraping than carving. It's useful for those forms that are difficult to produce by any other means, and lends itself particularly well to ﬁgurative work.
Usually, a piece of jewellery is carved in wax, cast via the lost wax casting method, then the casting cleaned up and ﬁttings added. If it’s a one-off piece it may undergo further processes, if it's for production, it will then have a mould made.
Moulds are traditionally made from vulcanised rubber. Several layers of unvulcanised rubber are placed around a metal master pattern inside a frame. The frame and rubber are placed in a press and compressed under heat. The resulting block is cut open and the master removed. Wax is injected into the mould and, when cool, removed. Multiple versions of the same item can then be produced.