Soap Experiment

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Water, Soap, Sodium hydroxide
  • Pages : 8 (2509 words )
  • Download(s) : 130
  • Published : October 28, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
An experiment is conducted to prepare soap and thus, to compare the properties of the prepared soap and synthetic detergents which are precipitation, emulsification and cleaning abilities. It can be concluded that soap has the properties if emulsifying oil whereas detergent has not. The abilities of forming precipitates can be seen clearly in soap solution whereas detergent forms no precipitates at all. The experiment is completed and successfully conducted.

Detergents and soaps are used for cleaning because pure water can't remove oily, organic soiling. Soap cleans by acting as an emulsifier. Basically, soap allows oil and water to mix so that oily grime can be removed during rinsing. Detergents were developed in response to the shortage of the animal and vegetable fats used to make soap during World War I and World War II. Detergents are primarily surfactants, which could be produced easily from petrochemicals. Surfactants lower the surface tension of water, essentially making it 'wetter' so that it is less likely to stick to itself and more likely to interact with oil and grease.

Soaps are sodium or potassium fatty acids salts, produced from the hydrolysis of fats in a chemical reaction called saponification. Each soap molecule has a long hydrocarbon chain, sometimes called its 'tail', with a carboxylate 'head'. In water, the sodium or potassium ions float free, leaving a negatively-charged head. Soap is an excellent cleanser because of its ability to act as an emulsifying agent. An emulsifier is capable of dispersing one liquid into another immiscible liquid. This means that while oil (which attracts dirt) doesn't naturally mix with water, soap can suspend oil/dirt in such a way that it can be removed. The organic part of a natural soap is a negatively-charged, polar molecule. Its hydrophilic (water-loving) carboxylate group (-CO2) interacts with water molecules via ion-dipole interactions and hydrogen bonding. The hydrophobic (water-fearing) part of a soap molecule, its long, nonpolar hydrocarbon chain, does not interact with water molecules. The hydrocarbon chains are attracted to each other by dispersion forces and cluster together, forming structures called micelles. In these micelles, the carboxylate groups form a negatively-charged spherical surface, with the hydrocarbon chains inside the sphere. Because they are negatively charged, soap micelles repel each other and remain dispersed in water. Grease and oil are nonpolar and insoluble in water. When soap and soiling oils are mixed, the nonpolar hydrocarbon portion of the micelles break up the nonpolar oil molecules. A different type of micelle then forms, with nonpolar soiling molecules in the center. Thus, grease and oil and the 'dirt' attached to them are caught inside the micelle and can be rinsed away. Although soaps are excellent cleansers, they do have disadvantages. As salts of weak acids, they are converted by mineral acids into free fatty acids: CH3(CH2)16CO2-Na+ + HCl → CH3(CH2)16CO2H + Na+ + Cl-

These fatty acids are less soluble than the sodium or potassium salts and form a precipitate or soap scum. Because of this, soaps are ineffective in hard water. Also, soaps form insoluble salts in hard water, such as water containing magnesium, calcium, or iron. 2 CH3(CH2)16CO2-Na+ + Mg2+ → [CH3(CH2)16CO2-]2Mg2+ + 2 Na+ Modern detergents contain more than surfactants. Cleaning products may also contain enzymes to degrade protein-based stains, bleaches to de-color stains and add power to cleaning agents, and blue dyes to counter yellowing. Like soaps, detergents have hydrophobic or water-hating molecular chains and hydrophilic or water-loving components. The hydrophobic hydrocarbons are repelled by water, but are attracted to oil and grease. The hydrophilic end of the same molecule means that one end of the molecule will be attracted to...
tracking img