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Uses of Carnauba Wax

Uses of Carnauba Wax

Many may not be aware but may have used products with carnauba wax in their daily lives. This natural wax has been widely used in various industries, including the food industry. This ScienceStruck article provides some information and enlists the different uses of the same.
Praseeda Shirodkar
Did You Know?
A finishing that is done using carnauba wax does not flake off over time, which is observed in most other finishes. It may just give it a dull appearance. Thus, it makes for an ideal choice wherever a flaking finish that looks unpleasant needs to be avoided.

Carnauba wax, also known as Brazil wax and palm wax, is obtained from a palm tree Copernicia prunifera (or Carnauba Palm) in Brazil. It is also often referred to as 'Queen of Waxes' and is harvested only in Brazil.
The Carnauba palm tree belongs to the northeastern Brazilian savannas. It is also referred to as the 'Tree of Life' in this region due to its many useful products. It secretes a wax during hot and dry weather conditions, in order to protect its leaves from damage. The wax is then obtained from the leaves. What is done is, the leaves are first cut and kept to dry in the sun. After this, they are beaten to loosen up the wax and further processed. It exists as hard yellowish to brownish flakes in its pure state, and after the processing, the wax is finally shaped into blocks for commercial use.
It is one of the hardest natural waxes with a melting point (82°C to 86°C ) that is much higher than other waxes. Its melting point is also much higher than that of beeswax (62°C to 64°C). This highly durable wax is mainly composed of esters of long-chain alcohols and acids. Furthermore, it is not only very hard but brittle as well. This is the reason for it to be used in combination with other waxes at times. Nowadays, cheaper synthetics have greatly replaced this wax; however, it is still produced and used in many parts of the world.
Uses of Carnauba Wax
This wax has a number of applications that is widely observed in various industries, which include food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, automobiles, etc. Here are some of them:

It is used as a coating agent for candies and other sweets. Being a natural and plant-based substance, it can be safely used in food products.

It is used as a vegetarian substitute in place of gelatin, as it is a vegetable wax. This also proves beneficial to those who do not prefer animal-derived products.

It is used as a hardening or thickening agent in various cosmetics such as lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, eye shadows, skin care products, etc., and more commonly observed in lipsticks and lip balms. Moreover, its wide usage in cosmetic products is because it is unlikely to cause any allergic reactions, and it has softening and soothing properties.

It is used as a polishing agent to deliver a glossy finish in polishes and waxes for cars, shoes, instruments, etc. A combination of carnauba wax, beeswax, and turpentine can be used in floor and furniture polishes.

It is used in the pharmaceutical industries for coating of tablets that enables easy swallowing of the same.

It is used in the treatment and waterproofing of many leather products. This is usually carried out in combination with other waxes. It also makes the leather more durable and strong.

It is employed in the making of candles.

As a coating agent, it is used for dental floss, paper, as well as disposable cups and plates, and on various other surfaces.

It is used as a finishing for wood, giving it an extremely glossy appearance.

It is used in the manufacture of reinforced plastics where it functions as an agent for releasing mold.

It is used as an ingredient in deodorants.

It is utilized in combination with dyes (and other such products) for colored polishing that lasts longer.

Considering the aforementioned points, you will observe that its main uses are as an agent for coating, hardening, and polishing in food and various other products.