Stearin, or tristearin, or glyceryl tristearate is a triglyceride, a glyceryl ester of stearic acid, derived from animal fats created as a byproduct of processing beef.
It can also be found in tropical plants such as palm. It is used as tallow in the manufacture of candles and soap. In the manufacture of soap, stearin is mixed with a sodium hydroxide solution in water. The following reaction gives glycerin and sodium stearate, which can be used as soap:
C3H5(C18H35O2)3 + 3 NaOH → C3H5(OH)3 + 3 C17H35COONa
stearin + 3 sodium hydroxide → glycerol + 3 sodium stearate
Stearin is also used in conjunction with aluminium flakes to help in the grinding process in making dark aluminium powder.
Stearin is a side product obtained during the extraction of cod liver oil removed during the chilling process at temperatures below −5 °C.
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