Molecule Advent Day 4: Stearic Acid

“Trim the teaching FAT not the fun”

It’s the 4th of December and I am putting up my Christmas tree today. Have a lovely relaxing Sunday – maybe have a bubble bath, if you do you may even come across some stearic acid. Dr Leila Walker tells us more about this intriguing long thin molecule.

Soap needs to dissolve fats as well as work in water: two very different environments! However, stearic acid comes to the rescue of most soaps as its structure has both a water-friendly and a fat friendly-end which allows it to dissolve all the dirt you throw at it.

Stearic Acid
Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Stearic-acid-3D-balls.png

 

Stearic acid in soap loves both fats and water which is why it can remove all dirt – keeping you lovely and clean! What do you know about stearic acid? Let us know if you can find it in your soap by tweeting @nanosimbox #molecules&me. For a bonus point can you tell us which part of the molecule makes it an “acid”?