[pal-mi-tin, pahl-, pah-mi-]
palmitin, fat that is the triglyceride of palmitic acid, CH3(CH2)14CO2H, i.e., the tripalmitate ester of glycerol. It is a white crystalline solid at ordinary temperatures, insoluble in water but soluble in ethanol and ether. When it is heated with an alkali (a process called saponification), a soap is produced. Palmitin and other palmitate esters occur abundantly in palm oil, lard, and tallow and also in olive oil, cottonseed oil, and butter—in fact, in most fats and oils.
Japan wax is a pale-yellow, waxy, water-insoluble solid with a gummy feel, obtained from the berries of certain sumacs native to Japan and China, such as Rhus verniciflua (Japanese sumac tree) and R. succedanea (Japanese wax tree).

Japan wax is a byproduct of lacquer manufacture. It is not a true wax but a fat that contains 10-15% palmitin, stearin, and olein with about 1% japanic acid (1,21-heneicosanedioic acid). Japan wax is sold in flat squares or disks and has a rancid odor. It is extracted by expression and heat, or by the action of solvents.


Japan wax is used chiefly in the manufacture of candles, furniture polishes, floor waxes, wax matches, soaps, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pastels, crayons, buffing compounds, metal lubricants, adhesives, thermoplastic resins, and as a substitute for beeswax.

Other names

Japan tallow; sumac wax; sumach wax; vegetable wax


Melting point =53°C

Soluble in benzene, ether, naphtha and alkalis. Insoluble in water or cold ethanol.

Iodine value=4.5-12.6

Acid value=6-209

Saponification value=206.5-237.5

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