Petroleum Wax Usage in the Packaging Industry

Paper and paperboard must be coated with waxes or plastics, or laminated to plastic films or foil in order to develop barrier capabilities to water, vapor, gases or odors. The four major industry segments in which petroleum wax and/or wax blends are used are as follows:

  1. Folding Cartons
  2. Corrugated Containers
  3. Flexible Packaging
  4. Paper Cups and Food Containers

The following is a summary of the many advantages wax offers to the packaging industry.

  1. Water Resistance and Water Vapor Resistance
    Water and water vapor resistance is the most important property associated with paraffin wax in conjunction with paper.
  2. Gas and Odor Barrier
    In addition to good protection against moisture vapor, paraffin wax is a good barrier against odor and gas transmission. It is this property which protects products against loss of flavor and odor and from contamination by foreign odor.
  3. Economy
    Petroleum based waxes are very economical water-resistant materials and their low viscosity requires relatively minimal machinery cost for application at high speeds.
  4. Purity
    Many grades of petroleum based wax are food grade, tasteless and odorless.

In addition to these advantages, petroleum wax can be blended with other waxes and additives and/or physically modified via mechanical means to provide the following important properties in paper packaging:

  • Heat Sealability
  • Hot Tack
  • Gloss and Gloss Stability
  • Blocking
  • Friction
  • Scuff Resistance
  • Grease Resistance

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