Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 146 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GLYCERINE GLYCERIN or GLYCEROL (in pharmacy Glycerinum) (from Gr. y)uK('s, sweet), a trihydric alcohol; trihydroxypropane, C3H5(OH)3. It is obtainable from most natural fatty bodies by the action of alkalis and similar reagents, whereby the fats are decomposed, water being taken up, and glycerin being formed together with the alkaline salt of some particular acid (varying with the nature of the fat). Owing to their possession of this common property, these natural fatty bodies and various artificial derivatives of glycerin, which behave in the same way when treated with alkalis, are known as glycerides. In the ordinary process of soap-making the glycerin remains dissolved in the aqueous liquors from which the soap is separated. Glycerin was discovered in 1779 by K. W. Scheele and named Olsuss (principe dour des hulks—Sweet principle of oils), and more fully investigated subsequently by M. E. Chevreul, who named it glycerin, M. P. E. Berthelot, and many other chemists, from whose researches it results that 'glycerin is a trihydric alcohol indicated by the formula C3H5(OH)3, the natural fats and oils, and the glycerides generally, being substances of the nature of compound esters formed from glycerin by the replacement of the hydrogen of the OH groups by the radicals of certain acids, called for that reason " fatty adds." The relation-ship of these glycerides to glycerin is shown by the series of bodies formed from glycerin by replacement of hydrogen by " stearyl " (C1811350), the radical of stearic acid (C18H350•OH):-

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