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Stearic Acid
Chemical Formula: C18H36O2
HS Code: 38231900


Stearic acid  is a saturated fatty acid with an 18-carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid and its chemical formula is C17H35CO2H. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates. As its ester, stearic acid is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature following palmitic acid. The triglyceride derived from three molecules of stearic acid is called stearin.


Formula: C18H36O2
Molar mass: 284.48 g/mol
Boiling point: 361 °C
Density: 941 kg/m³
Appearance: White solid


As food additive

The fatty acids (E number E570) are absorbed in the regular diet the same as the free fatty acids. Low acute toxicity is shown.

Soaps, cosmetics, detergents

Stearic acid is mainly used in the production of 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. Esters of stearic acid with ethylene glycol, glycol stearate, and glycol distearate are used to produce a pearly effect in shampoos, soaps, and other cosmetic products. They are added to the product in molten form and allowed to crystallize under controlled conditions. Detergents are obtained from amides and quaternary alkylammonium derivatives of stearic acid.

Lubricants, softening and release agents

In view of the soft texture of the sodium salt, which is the main component of soap, other salts are also useful for their lubricating properties. Lithium stearate is an important component of grease. The stearate salts of zinc, calcium, cadmium, and lead are used to soften PVC. Stearic acid is used along with castor oil for preparing softeners in textile sizing. They are heated and mixed with caustic potash or caustic soda. Related salts are also commonly used as release agents, e.g. in the production of automobile tires.

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