Chicle

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Description

Chicle is the name for the gummy sap and the wood of the evergreen sapodilla plum tree (Achras zapota) native to Central and South America. The Aztecs mixed the chicle latex with asphalt and used it as a chewing gum called txixtle. Chicle is now primarily sent to the United States for manufacture in chewing gum. The latex gum is tapped from the trees during the rainy season, then pressed into blocks for export. In processing, chewing gum is mixed with wax, polyvinyl acetate, sugars, and flavoring. The gum is a thermoplastic material that hardens and becomes less tacky below 32 C.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Achras zapota; chicle (Esp.); chewing gum; txixtle; sapodilla plum

Other Properties

Soluble in most organic solvents. Insoluble in water.

Melting Point 32.3 (softens)

Hazards and Safety

Ingestion should be avoided.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 185
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2098