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Expain why paraffin wax will not dissolve in water?Identify the reasons and give...

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arbutcher | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM via web

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Expain why paraffin wax will not dissolve in water?

Identify the reasons and give examples of the same effect

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jerichorayel | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:54 AM (Answer #1)

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Paraffin wax is a general term coined to any alkane or hydrocarbon with a formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin waxes refer to any mixtures of the said hydrocarbon with a long Carbon chain (approximately n=20). At room temperature they can be thick liquid to solid in form. They are commonly used as coatings for food and additives for candles, fertilizers, crayons and lubricants.

Looking back at their structure, paraffin wax contains C-H bonds all over the structure which makes the entire molecule neutral or without partial charges. This accounts to their insolubility with water. Paraffin waxes are insoluble because of its non-polar characteristic. All alkanes are non-polar in nature. And since we always say that "like dissolves like", water being a polar molecule, cannot dissolve paraffin waxes. 

Other example of non-polar molecules which are not soluble in water are: Boron trifluoride, benzene, fats, and diatomic gasses.

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science geek | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 2, 2012 at 6:20 AM (Answer #2)

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it is a hydrocarbon which gets dissolved only in non-polar solvants and not in water there many such hydrocarbons like paraffin wax...........

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