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A group of phospholipids that are contained in all living cells. Lecithins are composed of a mixture of diglycerides of fatty acids (stearic, palmitic, oleic, linolenic and linoleic) linked to the choline ester of phosphoric acid. Commercially, lecithin is obtained from soybean, corn, and egg yolk. Lecithin is a viscous oily liquid that is used for emulsifying, dispersing, and wetting. It is added to food products, paints, printing inks, plastic molding as a release agent, textiles as a lubricant, and leather as a dressing.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in chloroform, ether, mineral oil and fatty acids.
  • Partially soluble in water and benzene.
  • Insoluble in acetone, vegetable oils.
  • Density = 1.0305 g/ml

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 449
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 5452
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, httpc://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000

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