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Sodium Stearate is the sodium salt of stearic acid and is used as an anti-caking agent, thickening and stabilizing additive in pharmaceutical products. It is a solid white, oily powder with a fatty odor and is soluble in hot water or alcohol. It has excellent lubricity, penetration and detergency with good emulsification properties and is the major component of many types of soaps. In addition to its surfactant qualities, it also helps increase the solubility of hydrophobic substances in oral medicines.
During the saponification reaction of natural oils like coconut and palm oil, stearic acid is isolated. It is then combined with sodium hydroxide to produce sodium stearate, an important ingredient in soaps. It is also found in many types of solid deodorants, rubbers, latex paint and inks, as well as accelerators and some food additives and flavorings.
When heated, anhydrous sodium stearate melts to an optically clear liquid at 353degC. Above this temperature, the material appears to be in an equilibrium between two phases, with discrete lumps visible. It is impossible to obtain reproducible photoelectric current readings below this point. During the subsequent cooling process, the soap is believed to go through a series of mesomorphic forms, which have been described by light transmission and X-ray powder diffraction studies. Spectrum Chemical NF grade sodium stearate is manufactured, packaged and stored under current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). It is also known as anhydrous stearic fatty acid, potassium stearate, vegetable stearate, and glyceryl stearate SE.