In order to better characterize metal soaps found in paint films or on metal surfaces, several metal soaps were synthesized and their X-ray powder diffraction patterns measured. Metal soaps were obtained from four different fatty acids found in drying oils, two saturated (palmitic and stearic acids) and two unsaturated (oleic and linoleic acids), and from copper, zinc, and lead, three metals that are typically found in metal alloys and paint systems. X-ray powder diffraction data are reported for the following compounds: palmitic acid, stearic acid, zinc palmitate, zinc stearate, zinc oleate, zinc linoleate, copper palmitate, copper stearate, copper oleate, lead palmitate, lead stearate, and lead oleate. Features that are characteristic of specific compounds were observed. Soaps obtained from different fatty acids with the same metal ion show differences, as do soaps obtained with the same fatty acid but with different metal ions. Differences were observed when X-ray powder diffraction data obtained for stearic acid and zinc stearate were compared to published data for these two compounds (PDF 38-1923 and 5-0079, respectively). In the case of stearic acid, differences could be explained by the fact that the specimen reported previously in PDF 38-1923 was likely contaminated with palmitic acid. In the case of zinc stearate, low angle data were missing from the original pattern PDF 5-0079 and peaks that were reported in other angular regions in fact consisted in more peaks that were not resolved due to broadening.
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