Chemistry type question

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samirish

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I know that as a general rule saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.

However, Im looking to find a unsaturated fat that is solid at room temperature. Does such a thing even exist?

Thanks
Samirish
 

cgpeanut

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I'm not a chemist but I do not think so. The reason is unsaturated means that there are double bonds. The double bonds cause kinks in the structure -- it's no longer a straight carbon-hydrogen chain. So they can't stack up very easily --- the structures don't fit together. No stacking means no solid.

What are you trying to do that needs a solid unsaturated fat?
 

topofmurrayhill

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What pgpeanut says is on the money, but there's an exception: trans-fat would be solid at room temperature. Only unsaturated fatty acids can be trans-fatty acids. As was stated, saturated fatty acids have a straight shape while unsaturated fatty acids have one or more bends in the molecule. However, there's more than 1 way the the fatty acid can bend. The shape you find in nature is cis-fatty acid. Bend it the other way and it's trans-fatty acid, which always has a much higher melting point and can be solid even though it's unsaturated.

Oleic acid is common in olive oil and most oils. It's liquid as a free acid or as a fat. Trans-oleic acid (aka eliadic acid) melts at about 113 F and is a solid.

Purified trans-fatty acid can be obtained as a free acid. You can't really obtain pure trans-fat as a triglyceride, but as many people have learned, some amount of trans-fat is created in the process of hydrogenating oil to solidify it. It used to be common in vegetable shortening, margarine and the like, but the process of making many of those products has been changed due to health concerns.

BTW, the opposite -- saturated fatty acid that's liquid -- is easy to get. That's what fractionated coconut oil is.
 
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dosco

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I know that as a general rule saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.

However, Im looking to find a unsaturated fat that is solid at room temperature. Does such a thing even exist?

Thanks
Samirish

Out of curiosity, why are you looking for such a thing?

-Dave
 

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