A Guide to Fatty Alcohol and Their Uses
Fatty Alcohol and Their Uses in Everyday Life
Fatty alcohols are derived from two sources. Namely, oils and fats. They are easily identified by their long chain of carbon atoms and an oxygen atom connected to one end. Many everyday products in our lives use fatty alcohol, such as cosmetics, cleaning products, and lubricants. Products containing fatty alcohol usually have a thicker viscosity than those without. Fatty alcohol can also be used as a raw material in the production of other industrial chemicals, such as surfactants and esters.
Use in Cosmetics
Often used as an emollient, they help to moisturize and soften the skin like glycerine. More often, fatty alcohols are used as a thickening agent in creams and lotions and also as a base for other ingredients. Common fatty alcohols that are often used in the cosmetics industry are cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and lauryl alcohol. The cosmetics industry prefers them because they are non-toxic and don’t irritate the skin, which makes them safe for use on humans.
Other products that use fatty alcohol are detergents. Often, they are used as an emulsifier which allows oil-based and water-based ingredients to mix together into a homogeneous solution. In shampoos, fatty alcohols are used to help create thick luscious foam. They are also used in body soaps and other cleansing products as well. The most common types of fatty alcohol used in detergents are lauryl alcohol and cetyl alcohol.
Use in Lubricants
Fatty alcohol sees frequent use in other industrial applications as well. Most commonly, they are used to produce lubricants and grease for protecting machinery that is constantly grinding against each other. They help to significantly reduce wear and tear on machine components by reducing friction on surfaces that are constantly in contact and rubbing against each other at high speed. It also prevents rust from forming and oxidizing steel and iron components in a machine. Fatty alcohols that are used as lubricants are stearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol.
It’s important to note that fatty alcohols are very different from the alcohol you drink for recreation. The alcohol commonly consumed during celebratory events is ethyl alcohol which is a completely different class of alcohol that’s also known as ethanol. Unlike fatty alcohol, which is waxy and fatty with high viscosity, ethanol is a completely colorless liquid with high viscosity that is similar to water.
Ethanol, when consumed, usually causes drowsiness, impaired judgment, and other negative effects when consumed in large enough amounts. On the other hand, fatty alcohol has little effect when consumed, although, in large amounts, it can cause low-grade liver toxicity.
KLK OLEO produces a wide range of chemicals for a wide range of industrial applications. Fatty alcohol is just one of the many products we produce. We supply a wide range of industries that, include home and healthcare, cosmetics, and food industries.