Soaps and Detergents STSE Report
Many people make the mistake of thinking that soap is just something that cleans their bodies, clothes and dishes, but little do they know that there is so much more. For instance soap has been used since the ancient times and where made popular in Italy and Spain during the 8th century and by the end of the 13th century it was also available in France. In 1783, a Swedish chemist accidentally made the reaction that happens in today’s boiling process of making soap. Then in 1823, another chemist, this one French, discovered the chemical nature of ingredients of soap. Within soap there is a mixture of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids which comes from oils or fats by reacting them with an alkali at 80°–100 °C in a process known as saponification. Soap molecules happen to be similar to oil molecules which are long and stringy but soap molecules have different ends. The front end of the soap molecule attracts water which makes that side hydrophilic (water-loving). The other end of the molecule is attracted to oil which also makes it hydrophobic (water-hating). In dirt there is a slightly oily coating, and since one side of a soap molecule latches on to oil it would latch on to the dirt and be washed away by the water since the other side is attracted to the water molecules. Also what makes soap molecules so unusual is that it disrupts the surface tension of water by crowding around the water with their hydrophilic side which lessens the waters ability to stay stuck so tightly together. Surprisingly soap isn’t only used for household purposes; they are also used to keep bugs off of plants by mixing it with water and spraying the on the leaves, removing wallpaper glue, and lubricates the metal rails of sticking desk drawers. They can also solve a big summertime problem for most people which are outdoor ants. By mixing a solution of half water and half white vinegar with a dash of dishwashing liquid, then spraying this...
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