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Stearic acid

Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid that has an enormous variety of uses as an ingredient in food, cosmetics, and industrial products. It is extracted from many types of animal fats, vegetable fats, and some oils. It is also often used to change the consistency or melting temperature of a product, as a lubricant, or to prevent oxidation. The versatility and cost effectiveness of the acid makes it a popular ingredient in countless types of products, from candles and soap to lotion and margarine.

One of the most popular uses of stearic acid is in the production of candles. It is often used to harden the wax and strengthen the candle. It also has an impact on the melting point of the wax, improving the durability and consistency of the candle. For these reasons it can be found in most craft stores in the candle making section.

Stearic acid is also commonly used in the production of soap. In fact, soap may have been accidentally discovered in the ancient world by people trying to extract oil from animal fat; this process was likely similar to how stearic acid is extracted from animal fat. Soap made from animal fat, however, suffers the drawback of having low water solubility, which can result in a residual film on bathtubs and skin. Therefore, rather than as a primary ingredient, stearic acid is usually used as an additive. It can harden soaps and give shampoos a pearly color and consistency.

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