Fat molecule

Fat molecule

Three saturated fatty acid molecules linked to a glycerol molecule.

Chemistry

Keywords

fat molecule, fat, neutral fat, triglyceride, lipid, saturated, ester bond, fatty acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, glycerol, animal-origin, soap, chemistry, biology, biochemistry

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Scenes

Ball-and-stick

Fat molecule (tristearin) (C₁₇H₃₅COO)₃C₃H₅

Information

Molar mass: 891.45 g/mol

Melting point: 72 °C

Density: 0.862 g/cm³ (at 80 °C)

Properties

Fats (or lipids) are triglycerides: esters of three fatty acid units and a glycerol. The fat molecule shown in this animation is tristearin, in which the three fatty acid units are stearic acid molecules. Since stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid, tristearin is solid at room temperature, while vegetable fats contain unsaturated fatty acid, so they are liquid. Tristearin does not dissolve in water, weakly dissolves in cold alcohol and ether, and dissolves well in benzene and chloroform.

Occurrence and production

Tristearin occurs in solid animal fats. It is produced through the hydrolysis of fats followed by esterification.

Uses

Formerly tristearin was used for making candles. Fats are used as food, and in the production of dyes, leather care products, cosmetic products, fatty alcohols and fatty acids.

Space-filling

Narration

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Oleic acid (cis-octadec-9-enoic acid) (C₁₇H₃₃COOH)

An unsaturated monocarboxylic acid. The molecule contains double bond in cis orientation.

Palmitic acid (hexadecanoic acid) (C₁₅H₃₁COOH)

A white, waxy substance, a carboxylic acid of high carbon number.

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Stearic acid (octadecanoic acid) (C₁₇H₃₅COOH)

Solid, white substance, a constituent of vegetable oils and animal fats.

Glycerol (propane-1,2,3-triol) (C₃H₈O₃)

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