Wax esters are produced by combining one fatty alcohol molecule with one fatty acid and they are highly hydrophobic neutral lipids that are major constituents of the cutin and suberin layer. Traditionally, waxes are extracted from plants and animals while they are too expensive or scarce to meet the commercial demand. Industrial synthesized waxes are produced by direct chemical esterification at high temperature in presence of an inorganic catalyst. This non-selective high-energy route tends to produce versicolor and odorous waxes, which needs further processing to yield high-purity end product.
Figure 1. Synthesis of wax ester
Various types of wax esters exist. Some are saturated, and others contain unsaturated centers. Saturated wax esters with higher melting points are more likely to be solid at room temperature. Unsaturated wax esters with lower melting point are more likely to be liquid at room temperature.
Wax esters are widely used in cosmetics, pharmaceutical and industrial applications.
Wax esters has numerous functions in cosmetics. In creams, they are used as emollients, and in lipsticks, wax esters yield gloss in addition to binding and wetting the pigments.
Figure 2. Application in cosmetics
For example, carnauba wax can be used in the pharmaceutical industry as a tablet-coating agent. Adding the carnauba wax aids in the swallowing of tablets for patients.
Figure 3. Application in pills
Wax esters have favorable properties as a commodity for industrial applications and can be used in lubricant, leather production additive, textile additive as an emollient making textiles softer.
Alfa Chemistry offers a variety of wax esters for customers to choose from.