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Wax has traditionally referred to a substance that is secreted by bees (beeswax) and used by them in constructing their honeycombs.
It is an imprecisely defined term generally understood to be a substance with properties similar to beeswax, namely
Waxes may be natural or artificial. In addition to beeswax, carnauba (a plant epicuticular wax) and paraffin (a petroleum wax) are commonly encountered waxes which occur naturally. Earwax is an oily substance found in the human ear. Some artificial materials that exhibit similar properties are also described as wax or waxy.
Chemically, a wax may be an ester of ethylene glycol (ethan-1,2-diol) and two fatty acids, as opposed to a fat which is an ester of glycerin (propan-1,2,3-triol) and three fatty acids. It may also be a combination of other fatty alcohols with fatty acids. It is a type of lipid.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wax". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|