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An ester of a long-chain fatty acid, such as Stearic acid or Palmitic acid, that is solid at room temperature. Pure fats are colorless, odorless, tasteless and will float on water. Examples of natural fats are butter, lard and tallow. Fats may be hydrolyzed with an alkali to form soap in a process called saponification. Fats are also used in leather tannage, paints, and protective coatings.

Synonyms and Related Terms

fats (pl.); grasa (Esp.); gras (Fr.); grasso (It)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in hot ethanol, ether, acetone, carbon disulfide, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, benzene. Insoluble in water.

Resources and Citations

  • 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
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982

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