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  • Stearic acid (IUPAC systematic name: octadecanoic acid) is a saturated fatty acid that occurs in many animal and vegetable fats and oils.
  • Stearic acid is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is C18H36O2 .
  • The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates.
  • It is practically insoluble in water], fairly soluble in chloroform and decreasingly soluble in CS2, C6H6,CCl4,CH3CH2OH and CH3 – O – CH3.


  • Stearic acid occurs in most fruit flesh and seed fats and in marine animal oils.
  • Stearic acid is prepared by treating animal fat with water at a high pressure and temperature, leading to the hydrolysis of triglycerides.
  • It can also be obtained from the hydrogenation of some unsaturated vegetable oils.
  • Common stearic acid is actually a mix of stearic acid and palmitic acid, although purified stearic acid is available separately.


  • Stearic acid is used as plasticizer, softener, water – proofing agent, polishing agent, oiling agent and antisatatic agent .
  • Potassium salts of fatty acids with excess stearic acid give a slow drying lather for shaving soap.
  • Derivations of stearic acid are used in manufacture of Soaps,Metallic salts, Stearoyl chlorides, Bromide, Steramide, Stearonitrile, Stearyl alcohol.
  • In fireworks, stearic acid is often used to coat metal powders such as aluminium and iron.
  • Stearic acid is used along with simple sugar or corn syrup as a hardener in candies.


  • Stearic acid undergoes the typical reactions of saturated carboxylic acids, notably reduction to stearyl alcohol, and esterification with a range of alcohols.
  • Stearic acid’s neutral effect on blood total and LDL cholesterol levels implies that this long-chain SFA may not increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

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