Beeswax is a tough wax formed from a mixture of several chemical compounds. An approximate chemical formula for beeswax is C15H31COOC30H61.
Its main constituents are palmitate, palmitoleate, and oleate esters of long-chain (30–32 carbons) aliphatic alcohols, with the ratio of triacontanyl palmitate CH3(CH2)29O-CO-(CH2)14CH3 to cerotic acid CH3(CH2)24COOH, the two principal constituents, being 6:1.
Beeswax can be classified generally into European and Oriental types. The saponification value is lower (3–5) for European beeswax, and higher (8–9) for Oriental types.
Beeswax has a relatively low melting point range of 62 to 64 °C (144 to 147 °F). If beeswax is heated above 85 °C (185 °F) discoloration occurs. The flash point of beeswax is 204.4 °C (400 °F).
When natural beeswax is cold,it is brittle, and its fracture is dry and granular. At room temperature (conventionally taken as about 20 °C (68 °F)), it is tenacious and it softens further at human body temperature (37 °C (99 °F)). The specific gravity of beeswax at 15 °C (59 °F) is from 0.958 to 0.975; that of melted beeswax at 98 to 99 °C (208.4 to 210.2 °F) (compared with water at 15.5 °C (59.9 °F)) is 0.9822.