Some science behind the scenes

Carnauba wax

 

Carnauba also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax from the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, and Rio Grande do Norte. It is known as "queen of waxes" and usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes. It is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax.

Piezoelectric properties

The most interesting property of carnauba wax from our point of view is that it is classified as a piezoelectric polymer.  In effect it can both generate an electric charge and hold it under mechanical stress.

History and recent progress in piezoelectric polymers - Fukada E; Kobeyasi Inst. of Phys. Res., Tokyo, Japan.
Electrets of carnauba wax and resin have exhibited good stability of trapped charges for nearly 50 years.

Uses

In general use, because Carnauba wax can produce a glossy finish, it is used in a vast number of products -  automobile waxes, shoe polishes, dental floss, food products such as sweets, instrument polishes, and floor and furniture waxes and polishes, especially when mixed with beeswax and with turpentine. Use for paper coatings is the most common application in the United States. It is the main ingredient in surfboard wax, combined with coconut oil.

Because of its hypoallergenic and emollient properties as well as its shine, carnauba wax appears as an ingredient in many cosmetics formulas where it is used to thicken lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, deodorant, various skin care preparations, sun care preparations, and it is also used to make cutler's resin.

It is the finish of choice for most briar tobacco or smoking pipes. It produces a high gloss finish when buffed on to wood. This finish dulls with time rather than flaking off (as is the case with most other finishes used).

Although too brittle to be used by itself, carnauba wax is often combined with other waxes (principally beeswax) to treat and waterproof many leather products where it provides a high-gloss finish and increases leather's hardness and durability.

It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as a tablet-coating agent. Adding the carnuaba wax aids in the swallowing of tablets for patients. A very small amount (less than a hundredth of 1 percent by weight. i.e.: 30 grams for a 300 kg batch) is sprinkled onto a batch of tablets after they've been sprayed and dried. The wax and tablets are then tumbled together for a few minutes before being discharged from the tablet-coating machine.