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The chemical formula for sodium stearate is C18H35O2. The letter O expresses oxygen’s presence, while the number four represents the number of carbon atoms in the compound. Sodium stearate is an organic salt of stearic acid. It is a white solid and is one of the least allergenic of all the sodium salts of fatty acids. It is a good substitute for oleic acid in many applications.
Sodium stearate is a crystalline substance with a smooth feel, a fatty odor and is soluble in hot water and in alcohol. It is a binder, emulsifier and anticaking agent. It is used in many types of deodorants, rubbers and latex paints as well as in some food additives and in personal care products such as soaps.
It is also known as magnesium octadecanoate or octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt and magnesium stearate. It belongs to the class of organic compounds known as long-chain fatty acids, which are fatty acids with aliphatic tails that contain between 13 and 21 carbon atoms. It has both hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts and forms micelles that are able to attract other lipids in the product and help them dissolve.
It is derived from the saponification of natural oils, usually tallow or vegetable oil. It is the primary ingredient in most pharmaceuticals and cosmetics and provides lubrication, reduces cohesive forces of powder particles and improves their flowability. It is important in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals because it allows for more efficient manufacturing, improved blending, more consistent dosages and safe storage. Acme-Hardesty offers both tallow-based and plant-derived versions of this essential ingredient.