A solid saturated fatty acid obtained from animal or vegetable fats.
- Chemical formula: CH3(CH2)16COOH.
- Like all fatty acids stearic acid is insoluble in water, but is soluble in ether and hot alcohol.
- The most common animal fat is tristearin, which is composed of glycerol and three stearic acid molecules.
- Many shampoos are based on lauric, palmitic, and stearic acids, which have long chains of 12, 16, and 18 carbon atoms, respectively.
Mid 19th century: stearic from French stéarique, from Greek stear 'tallow'.
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