paraffin - hydrocarbon identified by saturated straight (normal) or branched (iso) carbon chains; also called an alkane. The generalized paraffinic molecule can by symbolized by the formula CnHzn+2. Paraffins are relatively non-reactive and have excellent oxidation stability. In contrast to naphthenic (see naphthene) oils, paraffinic lube oils have relatively high wax content and pour point, and generally have a high viscosity index (V. I.). Paraffinic solvents are generally lower in solvency than naphthenic or aromatic solvents. See hydrocarbon, normal paraffin, isoparaffin, saturated hydrocarbon.