Esparto wax

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Wax derived from the leaves of the Esparto grass plants, Stipa tenacissima and Lygeum spartum native to the Mediterranean region. Esparto wax is a byproduct obtained during paper production. It contains 15-17% free wax acids, 20-22% alcohols and 63-65% hydrocarbons. Esparto wax is a hard and tough wax, but it emulsifies easily and blends well with other waxes. It is used as a substitute for carnauba and is preferred in the production of carbon papers.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Stipa tenacissima; Lygeum spartum; cera de esparto (Esp.); Spanish grass wax; halfa wax

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in ethylene chloride. Slightly soluble in ethanol.
  • Iodine value=22-23
  • Acid value=22.7-23.9
  • Saponification value=69.8-79.3
  • Melting Point = 67.5-78.1 C
  • Density = 0.9887 g/ml


Properties of Natural Waxes

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • John S. Mills, Raymond White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heineman, London, 2nd ed., 1994
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 3742
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: melting point=67.5-78.1C, density=0.988, iodine value=22-23, acid value=22.7-23.9, saponification value=69.8-79.3