Clay vs Wax | Residual Clay, Sedimentary Clay, Natural Wax, Synthetic Wax
Clay and wax are similar in nature due to their plasticity. However, in terms of origin, compositions and usage they are completely different.
Clay is naturally forming and contains fine mineral grains. When considering the chemical composition of clay, it has hydrous aluminum silicates. The interconnected silicates are arranged as sheets in clay. Another sheet that contains metallic atoms, oxygen, and hydroxyl will combine with the first sheet, to form a two layer mineral such as kaolinite. Sometimes there can be three sheet structures (ex: vermiculite), where the second sheet is located in between the two silica sheets. Normally, it contains many impurities, which are in the soil. It is produced over a long period of time. As a result of physical and chemical weathering of rocks, clay is formed. Acidic solvents like carbonic acid may cause chemical weathering and release small mineral particles from massive rocks. Moreover, clay is also formed by hydrothermal activity. Clay can be divided into two categories depending on the way it is formed. The clay, which is found in the original place, is known as residual clay. These can be transported and deposited in another place by erosion. They are known as transported clay or sedimentary clay. Residual clays form mainly by surface weathering. Clay is used for making pottery and as a building material. The physical properties of clay have made it beneficial for these industries. They are plastic, and when mixed with water clay can be molded into any shape. And when it is dried the shape retains, and the object becomes very hard. Clay changes its color on firing and changes its physical and chemical properties permanently. Clay is also used for medical purposes and agricultural uses.
Wax is an organic compound which may occur naturally or, may be synthetic. Natural waxes are esters of fatty acids and alcohols. They become plastic upon heating. Usually when they are heated to higher temperatures (above 45 °C) they will melt completely to form a liquid. They are organic compounds with long carbon chains; therefore, they are not soluble in water. But they are soluble in non polar solvents and organic solvents. There are many types of waxes, belonging to both natural and synthetic classes. Natural waxes are mainly synthesized by plants and animals. Beeswax and ear wax in humans are the most known examples for animal waxes. Plants secrete wax in order to minimize evaporation and save water. Often plants grow in warm climates show these types of adaptations (ex: sugarcane wax, jojoba oil). Other than the ester waxes, there are hydrocarbon waxes, which can be seen in petroleum products. From the fractional distillation of petroleum, paraffin wax is obtained. Waxes are used to make candles, for coatings, paper production, sealing, polishes, etc. It is also used in many other consumer products like crayons, colored pencils and cosmetics.
What is the difference between Clay and Wax?
• Clay contains minerals and it is made from weathering of rocks. Wax is ester compounds of hydrocarbons.
• Clay is naturally formed, and wax can be formed naturally or synthetically.
• Clay is hard and retains its shape after heating. But wax is not so. Therefore, wax cannot be used to produce heat stable materials as like clays.