TCC’s Stearic Acid, also called Octadecanoic Acid, is a colorless, waxy solid that is almost insoluble in water. Its chemical formula is CH3(CH2)16CO2H. Its name stems from a Greek word meaning tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates. Stearic acid is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature following palmitic acid.
Stearic acid occurs in many animal and vegetable fats and oils, but it is more abundant in animal fat (up to 30%) than vegetable fat (typically <5%).
Stearic acid is prepared by treating these fats and oils with water at a high pressure and temperature (above 200 °C), which leads to the hydrolysis of triglycerides. The resulting mixture is then distilled.
In terms of its biosynthesis, stearic acid is produced from carbohydrates via the fatty acid synthesis machinery via acetyl-CoA.