Coconut oil

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Coconut palm Cocos nucifera


A colorless, nondrying oil or white, semisolid fat extracted from the dried meat of the Coconut fruit (copra) obtained from the tropical palm Cocus nucifera. Coconut oil contains the glycerides of lauric (45.4%), capric (8.4%), myristic (18.0%), palmitic (10.5%), stearic (2.3%), and oleic (7.5%) acids. It is used commercially to make candy, cosmetics, soaps, emulsions, and leather cleaners. Coconut oil has also been used in gold tooling to adhere gold leaf prior to impressing a heated tool or die (Roberts and Etherington 1982).


Coconut Oil, Gettens 100.C03.TIF

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cocus nucifera; aceite de coco (Esp.); olio di cocco (It)


  • Combustible.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Saponification value = 255-258.
  • Iodine value = 8-9.5.
  • Soluble in ethanol, ether, chloroform, carbon disulfide. Insoluble in water.
CAS 8001-31-8
Melting Point 21-25 C
Density 0.92 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.4485-1.4495

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 210
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2523
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: melting pt.=25.1C, density=0.924, ref. index=1.4463, iodine value = 10.4, saponification value=268

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