Stearic acid is known as Octadecanoic acid, one of the common long-chain fatty acids being a very useful saturated fatty acid present as a combined form and a major component in products such as cocoa and shea butter, and various plant and animal fats. Having 18-carbon as its backbone, the chemical formula of stearic acid is CH3(CH2)16COOH. Stearic acid mixtures used for economical purposes proportionally consist of oleic and palmitic acids, used while manufacturing everyday products such as but not limited to, soaps, lubricants, candles, and cosmetics. In nature, stearic acid is made essentially as a blended triglyceride, or fat, with other long-chain acids. It is commonly found more in animal fat than in vegetable fat. Giving an appearance of a waxy colorless solid. Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid, therefore, has all bonding positions between carbons supported by hydrogens. Melting points of saturated fatty acids such as stearic acid are defined by the boiling point principle: “as the molecular weight increases, the melting point increases”. This molecular structure enables numerous fatty acid particles to be fairly firmly “stacked” together. Subsequently, close intermolecular interactions result in generally low melting points. The freezing point of stearic acid is approximately 53, the melting point being approximately 77. Stearic Acid is mostly utilised in the production of cleansers, and cosmetics, for example, shampoos and shaving cream items. Stearic acid is utilised alongside castor oil for softener production used for sizing textiles. It is utilised while manufacturing candles, and as a hardener in sweets when blended with straightforward sugar and corn syrup. It is used in a similar way while producing dietary supplements. In firecrackers, stearic acid is regularly used to coat aluminum and iron powders. This averts oxidation, enabling structures to be put away for a more extended time frame. Stearic acid is a typical grease during infusion trim and pressing of ceramic powders. 

Stearic acid is widely used in soap production. Adding stearic acid to soaps allows the amino acid to harden and thicken the other ingredients of the solid soap bar. In addition to that, stearic acid is said to have many cleansing properties which make it an essential in the production of soaps. Stearic acid acts as a substance that sufficiently lowers the surface tension of oils allowing the water to easily combine with oil. Stearic acid being able to clean dirt and wash away sebum from hair and skin it is an essential ingredient in cleansers, soaps, and shampoos. Relating back to the experiment, in order for companies to be able to use stearic acid, the fats/oils are pressurised and heated in order to obtain the amino acids. Later, placed into a distillation machine, boiled in hot water in order to reach its melting point. While the substance boils, the steam given off due to boiling the substance is caught by the device and later put through chilled coils. Furthermore, the sudden change in temperature allows the stearic acid to condense and form a liquid which is further cooled into a waxy solid substance due to the particles losing heat and developing stronger forces of attraction. This process is carried out in the early stages of production of soaps, cleansers, lubricants, etc. Due to low melting and freezing points of stearic acid, it makes it easier for companies to work with as low melting points require less heat which means a quicker cooling process compared to other substances making the use of stearic acid time efficient and easier to use. Knowing the melting and freezing points of stearic acid is necessary as it contributes to the production of these daily items as frozen or hardened stearic acid isn’t suitable for manufacturing goods. For example, it must reach its melting point to be combined with other substances or in some cases further cooled into its waxy solid state in order to be used while manufacturing goods.

Stearic acid used for economic purposes consists of relatively equal amounts of palmitic and oleic acids as well as stearic acids. Stearic acid plays a major role in thickening substance in products such as paraffin, cosmetics, lotions, soaps, lubricants, and pharmaceuticals. However, products such as soaps are not directly produced from stearic acid, rather from saponification of triglycerides, contains stearic acid esters used for pearly effects in shampoos, cleansers, soaps, cosmetics with the addition of ethylene glycol. It is also a great substance for preventing the oil and water from separating in product formulas. Stearic acid is widely used and highly recommended while manufacturing goods due to the substance being chemically safe and accessible, therefore used in many products.

Stearic acid is now also used in food items such as candies, cocoa butter, etc. It is a safe fatty acid compared to other fatty acids and is one of the main fats in cocoa butter. Stearic acid allows powder ingredients to adapt due to its stickiness and density. Stearic acid is also used to hold tablets/pills in shape.

Stearic acid esters with ethylene glycol are utilized to while manufacturing shampoos, cosmetics, and other personal items. Cleansers can hold their shapes in the molded form inferable from ideal immersed unsaturated fat substance. Alkylammonium subsidiaries are utilized while manufacturing cleansers. Cleansers and cosmetics were the biggest application portion and represented over 25% of the global demand in 2014. The application section is foreseen to observe quick development in the up and coming years. Body moisturizers alongside edible margarine are produced in stearic acid, which is foreseen to support worldwide market development. The development of a few applications including softening and discharge operators, lubricants is anticipated to propel industry development. Item salts, for example, lead, zinc, calcium, and cadmium are connected in PVC softening. Moreover, they are utilized as discharge operators in car tire generation. Expanding application scope as added substance in negative plates and lead-acid battery production are likely anticipated to create higher global demands in the future. Moreover, it very well may be utilized as a solidifying operator in dietary enhancements and candy productions, which has an increasing effect on industry development. Stearic acid goes about as oil in molding applications into shapes, in this way, producing a huge interest in mechanical parts. These applications are candles, coatings, plasticizer alcohols, cleaners, and paints. Personal care is anticipated to be the quickest developing application fragment, of rising item scope in rising economies, for example, India, China, and Japan.

Works Cited

 (“Stearic Acid Market | Industry Research Report, 2022”)

 “Stearic Acid Market | Industry Research Report, 2022”. Grandviewresearch.Com, 2019, Accessed 1 Jan 2019.

 (“BBC Bitesize – KS3 Physics – Physical Changes – Revision 6”)

 “BBC Bitesize – KS3 Physics – Physical Changes – Revision 6”. BBC Bitesize, 2019, Accessed 1 Jan 2019.


 “Skinstore”. Stearic Acid, 2019, Accessed 1 Jan 2019.

(“Stearic Acid”)

 “Stearic Acid”. Pubchem.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov, 2019, Accessed 1 Jan 2019.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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