Paraffin is a common name for a group of alkane hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2, where n is the number of carbon atoms. The simplest paraffin molecule is that of methane, CH4, a gas at room temperature. Heavier members the series, such as that of octane C8H18, appear as liquids at room temperature. The solid forms of paraffin, called paraffin wax, are from the heaviest molecules. Paraffin wax was identified by Carl Reichenbach in 1830.
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