A peculiar, concrete, fatty substance, obtained from the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus Linne (class Mammalia; order Cetacea.

Habitat

Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Characters

White, somewhat translucent, slightly unctuous masses of a scaly-crystalline fracture and a pearly lustre; odorless, and having a bland, mild taste. It becomes yellowish and rancid by exposure to air. Sp. gr., about 0.945.

Solubility

Insoluble in water, and nearly so in cold Alcohol; also in Ether, Chloroform, Carbon Disulphide, fixed and volatile oils; only slightly soluble in cold Benzin.

Composition

It is mainly Celylic Alcohol, C16H33OH, which in combination with Palmitic Acid, Hc16h31o2, forms a fat, Cetin, C16H33C16H31O2.

Preparations

1. Ceratum Cetacei. - Spermaceti Cerate. Spermaceti, 100 White Wax, 350; Olive Oil, 550.

2. Unguentum Aquae Rosae. - See Rose, p. 556.

Uses of Spermaceti.

Spermaceti is used as an emollient and as a basis for ointments

and cerates.