We all know what fat is. And we all know what alcohol is. But how about a fatty alcohol?
Chemically speaking there isn’t much difference between a fat and an oil. The definition is basically that if it is solid it is a fat, if it is liquid it is an oil. But they are all triglycerides, made up of long fatty or oily chains three of which are linked to a glycerin. If you break down a fat you get glycerin and fatty acids. It is easy to separate these because glycerin is soluble in water so you just wash it out. You are then left with the fatty acids. There are a lot of different kinds of fatty acid but they all share the same basic structure of having a long fat chain with a reactive acid group at the end. Stearic acid is a typical example.
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More about the author: From the UK, Colin Sanders has been a formulator of cosmetic and topical pharmaceuticals for 27 years. Read more from this author