Fatty acid

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An organic, aliphatic acid found in animal and vegetable fats and oil. Fatty acids have an even numbered hydrocarbon chain that ends in a carboxylic acid group (-COOH). Saturated fatty acids, such as butyric (C4), lauric (C12), palmitic (C16) and stearic (C18), do not have any carbon-carbon double bonds and are used as salad oils, plasticizers, soaps, and candles. Unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic, linoleic, and linolenic (all C18), are commonly found in drying oils. They are used in paints, varnishes, and plastic products.

Synonyms and Related Terms

acido graso (Esp.); acid gras (Fr.); acidi grassi (It)

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • John S. Mills, Raymond White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heineman, London, 2nd ed., 1994
  • 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