Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or oil shale, that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms. It is solid at room temperature and begins to melt above approximately 37 °C (99 °F).
Its boiling point is >370 °C (698 °F).Common applications for paraffin wax include lubrication, electrical insulation, and candles. It is distinct from kerosene, another petroleum product that is sometimes called paraffin.
In chemistry, paraffin is used synonymously with alkane, indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. The name is derived from Latin parum ("barely") + affinis, meaning "lacking affinity" or "lacking reactivity", referring to paraffin's unreactive nature.