American Heritage
Science Dictionary
paraffin series  
See under alkane.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

paraffin series

any of the saturated hydrocarbons having the general formula CnH2n+2, C being a carbon atom, H a hydrogen atom, and n an integer. The paraffins are major constituents of natural gas and petroleum. Paraffins containing fewer than 5 carbon atoms per molecule are usually gaseous at room temperature, those having 5 to 15 carbon atoms are usually liquids, and the straight-chain paraffins having more than 15 carbon atoms per molecule are solids. Branched-chain paraffins have a much higher octane number rating than straight-chain paraffins and, therefore, are the more desirable constituents of gasoline. The hydrocarbons are immiscible with water but are soluble in absolute alcohol, ether, and acetone. All paraffins are colourless.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The lightest in the paraffin series of hydrocarbons.
Paraffin waxes are the colorless mixtures of solid hydrocarbons of the paraffin series.
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