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cetyl alcohol

[seet-l] /ˈsit l/
noun
1.
a white, crystalline, water-insoluble solid, C 16 H 34 O, used chiefly as an emollient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Also, cetylic alcohol
[si-til-ik] /sɪˈtɪl ɪk/ (Show IPA)
.
Also called ethal.
Origin
1870-1875
1870-75; cet- + -yl (so called because some of its compounds are found in spermaceti)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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cetyl alcohol in Science
cetyl alcohol
  (sēt'l)   
A waxy alcohol used in lubricants, detergents, cosmetics, and emulsifiers. Chemical formula: C16H34O.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for cetyl alcohol

[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. 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.

Learn more about cetyl alcohol with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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