Section: 7 | Properties of Fatty Acids and their Methyl Esters |
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The recommended form of citation is:
John R. Rumble, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 103rd Edition (Internet Version 2022), CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.
If a specific table is cited, use the format: "Physical Constants of Organic Compounds," in CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 103rd Edition (Internet Version 2022), John R. Rumble, ed., CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.


This table gives the names and selected properties of some important fatty acids and their methyl esters. It includes most of the acids that are significant constituents of naturally occurring oils and fats. Compounds are listed first by number of carbon atoms and, second, by the degree of unsaturation. Column definitions for the table are as follows.

Column heading Definition
Systematic name IUPAC systematic chemical name for compound
Common name Common or trivial name for compound
Mol. form. The molecular formula written in the Hill convention
Acid code Shorthand acid code commonly used; the first number in this code gives the number of carbon atoms; the number following the colon is the number of unsaturated centers (mainly double bonds); the location and orientation of the unsaturated centers follow. The symbols used are: c = cis; t = trans; a = acetylenic center; e = ethylenic center at end of chain; ep = epoxy; thus 9c,11t indicates a double bond with cis orientation at the No. 9 carbon and another with trans orientation at the No. 11 carbon. Additional details on the codes can be found in Ref. 1
CAS Reg. No. Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number for the compound
Mol. wt. Molecular weight (relative molar mass) as calculated with the 2016 IUPAC Standard Atomic Weights
tmp/°C Normal melting point, in °C
ρ Density, in g cm-3; at temperature in °C specified in superscript (Online Edition only)
S Aqueous solubility, in units of g fatty acid per kg water (Online Edition Only)
Me ester tmp/°C Normal melting point, in °C of the methyl ester of the acid when available
Me ester tbp/°C Normal boiling point in °C of the methyl ester of the acid when available; a superscript on the boiling point indicates the pressure in mmHg (torr); if there is no superscript, the value refers to one atmosphere (101.325 kPa or 760 mmHg)

 The references cover many other fatty acids beyond those listed here and give additional properties.

We are indebted to Frank D. Gunstone for advice on the content of the table.


  1. Gunstone, F. D., Harwood, J. L., and Dijkstra, A. J., eds., The Lipid Handbook, Third Edition, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2006.
  2. Adlof, R. O., and Gunstone, F. D., Common (non-systematic) Names for Fatty Acids, <>.
  3. Firestone, D., Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Oils, Fats, and Waxes, Second Edition, AOCS Press, Urbana, IL, 2006.
  4. Dawson, R. M. C., Elliott, D. C., Elliott, W. H., and Jones, K. M., Data for Biochemical Research, Third Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986.
  5. Altman, P. L., and Dittmer, D. S., eds., Biology Data Book, Second Edition, Vol. 1, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda, MD, 1972.
  6. Fasman, G. D., Ed., Practical Handbook of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1989.

Properties of Fatty Acids and Their Methyl Esters

Systematic nameCommon nameMol. form.Acid codeCAS Reg. No.Mol. wt.tmp/ºCρ/g cm-3S/g kg-1Me ester tmp/ºCMe ester tbp/ºC
Continued on next page...
Butanoic acidButyric acidC4H8O24:0107-92-688.106-5.120.952825-85.8102.8
Pentanoic acidValeric acidC5H10O25:0109-52-4102.132-33.630.93892045.169.8127.4
3-Methylbutanoic acidIsovaleric acidC5H10O24:0 3-Me503-74-2102.132-29.60.9312043-31.5116.5
Hexanoic acidCaproic acidC6H12O2 6:0142-62-1116.158-4.10.92742010.2-71149.5
Heptanoic acidEnanthic acidC7H14O2 7:0111-14-8130.185-7.170.9181202.4-56174
Octanoic acidCaprylic acidC8H16O2 8:0124-07-2144.21216.510.9106200.80-40192.9
Nonanoic acidPelargonic acidC9H18O29:0112-05-0158.23812.380.9052200.284-35213.5
Decanoic acidCapric acidC10H20O210:0334-48-5172.26531.390.8858400.15-18224
9-Decenoic acidCaproleic acidC10H18O210:114436-32-9170.24926.50.92381512020
Undecanoic acidHendecanoic acidC11H22O211:0112-37-8186.29228.470.890720-15.212310
Dodecanoic acidLauric acidC12H24O212:0143-07-7200.31843.820.8679500.0555.1268
cis-9-Dodecenoic acidLauroleic acidC12H22O212:1 9c2382-40-3198.30223
Tridecanoic acidTridecylic acidC13H26O213:0638-53-9214.34441.850.8458800.0336.5921
Tetradecanoic acidMyristic acidC14H28O214:0544-63-8228.37154.160.8622540.02019.0295; 1557
cis-9-Tetradecenoic acidMyristoleic acidC14H26O214:1 9c13147-06-3226.355-40.901820
Pentadecanoic acidPentadecyclic acidC15H30O215:01002-84-2242.39852.520.8423800.01218.5153.5
Hexadecanoic acidPalmitic acidC16H32O216:057-10-3256.42462.490.8487700.007229.6324
cis-9-Hexadecenoic acidPalmitoleic acidC16H30O216:1 9c373-49-9254.408233.7325
Heptadecanoic acidMargaric acidC17H34O217:0506-12-7270.45161.080.8532600.0042301859

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