Wax Tests

Property Measurement and
Quality Control of Waxes

Waxes are typically quality controlled with regard to the following physical properties: melt point, oil content, penetration, viscosity and color. A short description of each of these properties and the test method used to measure each is described in the chart below. For additional information regarding any one of these test methods, please go to ASTM’s website.

Wax Tests

PropertyTest MethodDescriptionTypical Values
Melt PointASTM D87Provides information on temperature at which most of a given wax changes from a solid to a liquid. Widely used for paraffin waxes.100-160°F (43-71°C) for paraffin waxes
Congealing PointASTM D938 Measures when a wax ceases to flow.Varies widely
Drop Melt PointASTM D127Generally used on waxes that don't show a melting plateau e.g. petrolatums and microcrystalline waxes.140-200°F (60-93°C) for microcrystalline waxes
Needle PenetrationASTM D1321Measures the hardness of wax. Usually determined at 77°F (25°C) or 100°F (40°C). Higher values indicate softer wax.9-20 (0.1dmm) for paraffin @ 77°F (25°C)
Oil ContentASTM D721The amount of oil in wax. Indicates degree of refining.Fully Refined <0.5%, Semi-refined 0.5-1.0%, Scale 1.0-3.0%
Kinematic ViscosityASTM D445 The resistance to flow of a molten wax at the test temperature. Results in centistokes (cSt).2.9-7.5 for paraffin
MottlingIn-HouseTest done to ensure a production lot of wax exhibits a mottling finish to the surface when used under correct conditions.pass or fail
Viscosity Conversion of Saybolt to Kinematic and vice versaASTM D2161This practice covers the conversion tables and equations for converting kinematic viscosity in centistokes (cSt) at any temperature to Saybolt Universal viscosity in Saybolt Universal seconds (SUS) at the same temperature.
Saybolt ColorASTM D6045The deviation of molten wax from colorless. The Saybolt color scale ranges from +30 (colorless) to -16 (medium yellow/brown)Lightest color is highest, +30 is maximum
ASTM ColorASTM D6045Visual comparison of wax color (molten) against glass color standards. Used for light amber and darker waxes and blends.Darkest color is highest, 8 is black
Odor TestASTM D1833D1833 Procedure for rating the odor intensity of waxes derived from petroleum.A value of 1 or less is acceptable for paraffin

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