Stearic acid is the most common saturated fatty acid found in many animal and animal fats and oils. It is extracted from these products by water at a high pressure and temperature, and the resulting mixture is then distilled. Stearic acid has many uses, especially in the cosmetics industry.
Uses of Stearic Acid
- Stearic acid is most commonly used in the manufacture of soap, detergent, shampoo, shaving cream and other cosmetic products. In this situation it is mostly used to form a stable base, which helps to bind and thicken the products. It also has a high melting temperature, which means it won’t run when left on the body for extended periods of time.
- It is also used to create lithium stearate, which is an important ingredient of grease. Other stearate salts are used to soften PVC and are also used as release agents. It is also used in the textile industry in the process of strengthen the yarn.
- Stearic acid is also used as a lubricant in injection molding and during the ceramic forming process.
- Stearic acid is also commonly used, together with sugar of corn syrup, as a hardener in candle-making. This not only strengthens the wax, but also increases the melting point of the candle to help it last longer.
- It is also used in fireworks to coat the metal powders to prevent oxidation while the fireworks are in storage. This effectively increases the shelf life of the fireworks.
- It is also used in many food products because it remains stable at high temperatures. It is commonly used in margarine and other spreads.