Stearic acid — one of the fatty acids, most widespread in the nature, which is in the form of glycerides part of lipids, first of all triglycerides of fats of animal origin the last carry out function of power depot. Content of stearic acid in animal fats as much as possible in mutton fat (to ~ 30%), in vegetable oils - to 10% (palm oil).
It is synthesized in organism from palmitic acid under the influence of enzymes — elongaz, in charge of lengthening of aliphatic chain of fatty acids.
The main industrial method of receiving stearic acid is its extraction from stearin — hydrolysate of fats by production of soap. Though stearic acid can be extracted also from seed fats, usually for its production fat of animals is used.
It is widely used in the cosmetic industry: sodium stearate is one of the main components of soap, stearic acid is part of many cosmetics. It is applied in production of candles and as softener in production of rubber. Sodium stearates, calcium, lead are used as components of plastic greasings.