Zinc stearate is an ingredient that doesn’t necessarily roll off the tongue when you read it, but you’ve probably come across it in your favorite beauty products. The cosmetics industry uses it in a variety of ways, but did you know it’s also used as an industrial metal lubricant? Metallic stearates are compounds of long-chain fatty acids with metals of different valencies, such as aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. They are widely used for their lubricating properties, separating action, water repellence and gelling capacity.
The chemical is produced through the dry process, in which the stearic acid is heated under controlled conditions until it is completely reacted with zinc oxide. This results in a fine powder with high purity and good dispersibility. It can also be formulated to have demanded particular size, density and texture for a specific application.
Zinc Stearate can be applied in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products to help facilitate tableting processes. It’s also found in a number of skin care products, including mild anti-septic and astringent solutions. It can also be used as a mold release agent and dusting agent in the rubber manufacturing process.
Zinc stearate is also a stabilizer for polyvinyl chloride plastics and acts as a rubber softener and PVC processing lubricant. It’s also used in the building industry as a hydrophobic coating for concrete. The ingredient reduces friction between sliding surfaces, helps prevent corrosion and is also effective as a dust suppressant. It is a common additive for wood coatings as well.