Stearic acid (first syllable pronounced either steer or stair) or 18:0 is a saturated fatty acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is C18H36O2, or CH3(CH2)16COOH. Its name comes from the Greek word stéar (genitive: stéatos), which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates.
Stearic acid is useful as an ingredient in making candles, plastics, dietary supplements, oil pastels and cosmetics, and for softening rubber. It is used to harden soaps, particularly those made with vegetable oil.
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