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The sodium stearate formula is a common, versatile ingredient for soaps, cosmetics and food additives. It can act as an emulsifier, dispersant, gelling agent, stabilizer and binding agent.
Sodium stearate is a fatty acid salt and is produced by saponification of natural oils. It is most commonly derived from vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm oils. It is also found in animal fats such as tallow.
Production of this compound involves the catalytic hydrogenation of triglycerides with 18 carbon atoms in anhydrous or aqueous form, followed by saponification with sodium hydroxide to produce soap. The resulting sodium stearate is mainly soluble in water.
Sodium stearate is a white solid, and has a slight tallow-like odor. It is used in many types of solid deodorants, rubbers, latex paints and inks, and is a component of some food additives and food flavorings.