Zinc Stearate is a “zinc soap” that is widely used industrially. In this context, soap is used in its formal sense, a metal “salt” of a fatty acid. It is a white solid that repels water. It is insoluble in polar solvents such as alcohol and ether but soluble in aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g., benzene) and chlorinated hydrocarbons when heated. It is the most powerful mold release agent among all metal soaps. It contains no electrolyte and has a hydrophobic effect. Its main application areas are the plastics and rubber industry, where it is used as a releasing agent and lubricant which can be easily incorporated.
Zinc carboxylates, e.g. basic zinc acetate, adopt complex formulas, and are not simply dicarboxylates of zinc. Instead the formula for most zinc carboxylates is Zn4O(O2CR)6, consisting of a Zn4O6+ core with carboxylate ligands spanning the edges.