Stearic acid is commercially produced from fatty acids by saponification with water at a high temperature and pressure, leading to the hydrolysis of triglycerides. The resulting product then distilled to remove the water. Sstearic acid produced usually consist some palmitic acid as well, further purification can be done to get a high purity product.
There are different manufacturing process depending on the grade of stearic acid required and the type of raw material. Tallow and Grease are the most common raw material used for the production of stearic acid. There are two main steps for the production of stearic acids.
- Firstly raw materials (fat or oil) are hydrolyzed to produce a mixture of fatty acids and glycerin followed by separation of two products.
- Purification and separation of fatty acid mixtures.