Safflower oil

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A pale yellow semidrying oil expressed from the seeds of the safflower plant, Carthamus tinctorius, originally found in Egypt and India. Safflower plants were later cultivated in Europe. Safflower oil contains the following fatty acids: linoleic (76- 78%), oleic (12-14%), palmitic (6-7%), stearic (2-3%), and almost no linolenic (Serpico and White 2000). It does not yellow as it dries and has been used occasionally as a substitute for Linseed oil in white artist paints. Safflower oil is also used as a modifier in alkyd resins, paints, and varnishes.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Carthamus tinctorius; aceite de cártamo (Esp.); huile de carthame (Fr.); olio di cartamo (It); cnecos, roghan; Afridi wax

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Iodine number 130-152;
  • Acid number = 0.6-1.5;
  • Saponification number = 186-193
  • Density = 0.923-0.927
  • Refractive Index = 1.4740-1.4745

Resources and Citations

  • M.Serpico, R.White, "Oil, fat and wax" in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, P.Nicholson, I.Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 390-429.
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 825
  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • 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 8465
  • Guy Weismantel, Paint Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1981
  • Thomas J.S. Learner, Analysis of Modern Paints, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 2004 Comment: Gives average fatty acid content as: linoleic (70%), oleic (17%), linolenic (2%), palmitic (8%), and stearic acid (3%)