cetyl alcohol


cetyl alcohol
/seet"l/
a white, crystalline, water-insoluble solid, C16H34O, used chiefly as an emollient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Also, cetylic alcohol /si til"ik/. Also called ethal.
[1870-75; CET- + -YL (so called because some of its compounds are found in spermaceti)]

* * *

also called  1-hexadecanol 

      [CH3(CH2)15OH], a solid organic compound that was one of the first alcohols to be isolated from fats. Cetyl alcohol was discovered in 1817 by the French chemist Michel Chevreul (Chevreul, Michel-Eugène). When he heated a sample of spermaceti (a solid wax formed by the cooling of sperm whale oil) with caustic potash (potassium hydroxide), colourless crystals appeared. Although Chevreul thought that these crystals were a compound of ethylene and water, a more complete analysis by other researchers in 1836 established its composition as an alcohol.

      Cetyl alcohol is now manufactured through the reduction of ethyl palmitate (the waxy ester of palmitic acid) with metallic sodium and alcohol or under acidic conditions with lithium aluminum hydride as a catalyst. Cetyl alcohol is used widely in lubricants, emulsifiers, insecticides, and detergents. Because it is not readily hydrolyzed, cetyl alcohol can be applied as a thin film over a surface (e.g., on the leaves of growing plants or across a water reservoir) to reduce the rate of water loss through evaporation. Cetyl alcohol also melts at a temperature higher than that of the human body, so it is useful in preparing cosmetic creams (e.g., lipsticks) that are easily molded and softened when warmed by the skin.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cetyl alcohol — Cetyl alcohol[1] …   Wikipedia

  • cetyl alcohol — n a waxy crystalline alcohol C16H34O obtained by the saponification of spermaceti or the hydrogenation of palmitic acid and used esp. in pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations and in making detergents * * * [NF] a solid fatty alcohol prepared… …   Medical dictionary

  • cetyl alcohol — ethal eth al, n. [Ether + alcohol: cf. F. [ e]thal.] (Chem.) A white waxy solid, {C16H33.OH}; called also {cetyl alcohol} and {cetylic alcohol}. See {Cetylic alcohol}, under {Cetylic}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cetyl alcohol — Cetylic Ce*tyl ic, a. (Chem.) Of, pertaining to, or derived from, spermaceti. [1913 Webster] {Cetylic alcohol} (Chem.), a white, waxy, crystalline solid, obtained from spermaceti, and regarded as homologous with ordinary, or ethyl, alcohol;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cetyl alcohol — cetilo alkoholis statusas T sritis chemija formulė H(CH₂)₁₆OH atitikmenys: angl. cetyl alcohol rus. цетиловый спирт ryšiai: sinonimas – 1 heksadekanolis …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • cetyl alcohol — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary cet (from Latin cetus whale) + yl; from its occurrence in spermaceti Date: 1863 a waxy crystalline alcohol C16H34O obtained by the saponification of spermaceti or the hydrogenation of palmitic… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cetyl alcohol — noun The waxy aliphatic primary alcohol 1 hexadecanol, used in cosmetics etc …   Wiktionary

  • cetyl alcohol — noun : a waxy crystalline solid alcohol C16H33OH found in the form of palmitate in spermaceti and used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations (as creams and lotions) and in making detergents called also 1 hexadecanol …   Useful english dictionary

  • cetyl alcohol — ce′tyl al′cohol [[t]ˈsit l[/t]] n. chem. a white crystalline water insoluble solid, C16H34O, used chiefly as an emollient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals • Etymology: 1870–75; < Lcēt(us)whale; from its being found in spermaceti …   From formal English to slang

  • Cetyl palmitate — Identifiers CAS number 540 10 3  …   Wikipedia