Stearic acid

Stearic acid

Stearic acid (/ˈstɪərɪk/ STEER-ik, /stiˈærɪk/ stee-ARR-ik) is a saturated fatty acid with an 18-carbon chain. The IUPAC name is octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid and its chemical formula is C17H35CO2H.

Production

Stearic acid is obtained from fats and oils by the saponification of the triglycerides using hot water (about 100 °C). Then the resulting mixture distilled. Commercial stearic acid is often a mixture of stearic and palmitic acids.

Uses

In general, the application of stearic acid exploits its bifunctional character, with a polar head group that can be attached to metal cations. Stearic acid effects by the typical reactions of saturated carboxylic acids, which plays important role in reducing Stearyl alcohol, and making Stearic acid esterified with high range of alcohols.
Soaps, cosmetics, detergents
Stearic acid is mainly used in producing detergents, soaps, and cosmetics such as shampoos and shaving cream products. Soaps are not made directly from stearic acid, but indirectly by saponification of triglycerides consisting of stearic acid esters.

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