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Honors Chemistry Independent Project

:

Natalie Youssef

Make Your Own Soap to Study Soap Synthesis
Purpose: To make my own soap by mixing coconut oil with sodium hydroxide and demonstrate increased soap purity as you follow steps to purify it with salt (sodium chloride). Materials/ Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Coconut oil (30mL) 3-M Sodium hydroxide solution (45mL) pH paper Distilled water Stirring rod Sodium chloride (45g) Cheesecloth Filter paper Soap mold Peppermint oil Pyrex beakers, 100-mL (2) Graduated cylinders, 10-, 25-, and 50-mL Hot pad or oven mitts Hot plate Wire gauze Lab notebook Timer Scale capable of measuring in grams; needed if the Sodium chloride is in solid rather than liquid form • Clear plastic cups (3) Disclaimer: Science Buddies occasionally provides information (such as part numbers, supplier names, and supplier weblinks) to assist our users in locating specialty items for individual projects. The information is provided solely as a convenience to our users. We do our best to make sure that part numbers and descriptions are accurate when first listed. However, since part numbers do change as items are obsoleted or improved, please send us an email if you run across any parts that are no longer available. We also do our best to make sure that any listed supplier provides prompt, courteous service. Science Buddies does participate in affiliate programs with Amazon.com, Carolina Biological, and AquaPhoenix Education. Proceeds from the affiliate programs help support Science Buddies, a 501( c ) 3 public charity. If you have any comments (positive or negative) related to purchases you've made for science fair projects from recommendations on our site, please let us know. Write to us at scibuddy@sciencebuddies.org.

Procedure: • Put on your lab coat, gloves, and safety goggles. • Place 10 mL of coconut oil and 15 mL of 3-M sodium hydroxide solution into a 100-mL beaker. • Using a hotplate or a low-flame Bunsen burner, heat the mixture to a gentle boil. Use the wire gauze to stabilize the beaker on the hotplate if it is the kind with a spiral heating coil. • Stir constantly. Avoid spattering of the sodium hydroxide solution by using gentle heating and by stirring constantly. • Boil for 20 minutes, or until all of the water has evaporated. • Carefully remove this beaker from the heat and allow it to cool. • Using the pH paper, test the pH of the crude soap. For steps where the soap is still a liquid, the pH can be measured by simply dipping the pH paper into the liquid. Follow the instructions on the pH paper package to interpret the results. For steps where the soap is a solid, it may be wet enough to just rub the pH paper against the soap. If it is not, then add 3-5 drops of water and then rub the pH paper onto these soap-water drops. Follow the instructions on the pH paper package to interpret the results. If you are unfamiliar with what the pH scale is or what it means, read the Science Buddies guide to Acids, Bases, and the pH Scale. • Record the pH in your lab notebook. Call it Crude soap. • Add 15 mL of distilled water to the soap mixture and stir it with a stirring rod. • Heat 50 mL of saturated sodium chloride solution in a 100-mL beaker until it is almost boiling. If you are starting with solid sodium chloride (rather than liquid), weigh 15 g of sodium chloride and put it in a 100-mL beaker. Add 50 mL of water and stir until dissolved. Heat the salt solution until it is almost boiling. • Add the hot sodium chloride solution to the soap mixture. Use a hot pad or oven mitt, as needed. • Break up lumps of soap with a clean stirring rod. • Cover the beaker containing the soap mixture with cheesecloth and pour the liquid into a clear plastic cup. This is called decanting the liquid. Cheesecloth is made of a very fine mesh allowing for the excess liquid to drain out while retaining all the solids. The solids are the soap. You want to keep the material left in the beaker after you decant the liquid. Those solids are the soap. • Measure the pH of the soap with a new pH paper. See step 7b for instructions on how to measure the pH of solid soap. • Record the pH in your lab notebook. Call it Washed 1 time. • Repeat steps 9–14 two more times. • Record the pH after each wash. Call the pH readings Washed 2 times and Washed 3 times.

• Add three drops of peppermint oil to the soap. • Press the soap between two pieces of filter paper to remove as much liquid as possible. • Press the soap into the soap mold and dry it overnight. • Measure and record the pH reading of the dried soap. Call the pH reading Final product. • If the Final product pH reading is between 6 and 10, the soap is considered safe to use. If this is the case, take the soap out of the mold and confirm its ability to produce suds by washing your hands with it. Did the procedure successfully convert fat into soap? • Record you observations about the color, odor, and texture of the soap in your lab notebook. • Perform the entire procedure two more times with clean and fresh materials to collect additional data and to demonstrate that your results are repeatable. Research Questions: • What are other oils, besides coconut, that are used to make bath soaps? There are many different types of oils besides coconut that art used to make bath soaps. These oils include: -Apricot Kernel Oil -Almond Oil -Avocado Oil - Babassu Oil - Canola Oil - Carstor Oil - Corn Oil - Cottonseed Oil - Emu Oil - Grapeseed Oil - Hazelnut Oil - Hemp seed Oil - Jojoba Oil - Kukui Nut Oil - Lard - Macadamia Nut Oil - Neem Oil - Olive Oil - Palm Oil - Pumpkin Seed Oil - Rice Bran Oil - Safflower Oil - Sesame Seed Oil -Shea Oil -Soybean Oil

- Sunflower Oil -Tallow, beef - Wheatgerm Oil Since each oil is different they will impart different qualities to the final soap product. The list I have provided above are the most common oils used in soap. In my soap recipe, I used Coconut oil. Coconut oil is one of the primary oils soap makers use in their soap. Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees fareheight unless you have a hydrogenated type, which melts at 92 degrees. Coconut creates a very hard and white bar of soap. The amount of coconut oil you use in your soap will effect how drying it will be to the skin. If more than 30% of coconut oil is used in your recipe than the soap will most likely be drying to the skin. • Based on your research, why is potassium hydroxide used instead of sodium hydroxide to make certain kinds of soaps? Sodium and potassium hydroxide are caustic bases formed from an alkali metal ionically bound to a hydroxide group. Potassium hydroxide has a higher atomic weight than sodium hydroxide because potassium is heavier than sodium. The main difference between the two is that potassium hydroxide reacts with water slightly less exothermic. Also potassium hydroxide is more soluble in water than sodium hydroxide. This is why sodium hydroxide is used to make bar or solid soap and potassium hydroxide is used to make liquid soap. Solid soap cannot be made by using potassium hydroxide unless you use animal fat (lard). Sodium hydroxide soaps form crystals and clump together creating harder soaps. Potassium soaps form strands leaving them more liquid. • Based on your research, what is a micelle? Based off of Webster’s encyclopedia a micelle is a unit structure built up from polymeric molecules or ions. It is a total of surfactant molecules dispersed in a liquid colloid. Micelles are spherical in shape. • What is the chemical name of the most common fatty-acid molecule found in coconut oil? Lauric is the most common fatty-acid molecule found in coconut oil. Lauric Acid has a scientific name of dodecanoic acid. Lauric Acid has a total of 12 carbon atoms and 0 double bonds. The fatty acid profile of coconut oil is: - 48% lauric - 2% linoleic - 0% linoleic - 19% myristic - 8% oleic - 9% palmitic

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0% ricinolic 3% stearic

• How does the "split-personality" of a soap molecule make it a good cleaning agent? Soap molecules have a split personality where one end is ionic and dissolves in water and the other end is like a hydrocarbon and dissolves in oils. Human body oil acts like sticky glue. When dirt and grime stick to the skin, washing with water alone does not help. With soap molecules the split personality causes the ionic end to dissolve while the other end is like a hydrocarbon and dissolves in oils. In this action process the oil is broken into tiny droplets and is dispersed throughout the solution. Together, the oil and water form an emulsion. As soap acts as an emulsifier, the oil is no longer stuck to the surface. After this process occurs, the dirt can be removed easily. • What is a triglyceride? A triglyceride is an ester that is derived from glycerol and three fatty acids. An ester is a chemical compound. Triglycerides are blood lipids that help enable the bidirectional transference of adipose fat and glucose from the liver. • The procedure for this science project uses 3-molar (3M) sodium hydroxide. What does the term molar mean? A mole is a type of measurement. Molarity is measured as the number of moles of solute in one liter of solution. 3M sodium hydroxide means that there are three moles of sodium hydroxide in each liter per solution. • How does soap clean? What we call dirt is actually grease, oil, and fat, which is insoluble in water. Using plain water cannot wash off these things. When you clean things with soap, the soap micelles come into contact with the dirt dissolving the dirt within the central region of the soap micelle. • What is the difference between liquid and bar soap? Bar soap has a higher pH level than liquid soap. Other than that the components in each type of soap remain the same. Liquid soap is more practical for people with gentle skin. In addition bar soaps have more bacteria because they are left exposed to the air while liquid soap comes in a packed container. • What other ways besides using pH-testing paper can you test the pH level in homemade soap?

Besides using pH- testing paper to test the pH level in homemade bar soap you can use your tongue to test the pH by barely tapping the tip of your tongue on the bar of soap. If you feel an electric shock when you touched your tongue to the soap than it has a high level of pH and is not safe to use. Another way to test the pH of soap besides using pH-testing paper or your tongue is to use phenolphthalein. Phenolphthalein is a liquid that can be applied to the soap one drop at a time. The phenolphthalein changes the color of the soap to a pinkish color when it touches the base of the soap. The darker the pink the higher the pH reading is in the soap. Using this technique you can tell if your bar soap is safe to use if it is clear or light pink. Graphing Your Data 1. The pH readings (crude and washes 1–3) from each trial: Crude Soap: 8.0 Washed 1 time: 7.6 Washed 2 times: 7.2 Final Wash: 6.2 Average pH readings: 2. Graph the number of salt washes on the x-axis and the average pH readings on the y-axis.

pH Readings From Each Trial
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Crude Soap Wash 1 Wash 2 Final Wash pH Levels

3. How does the pH change with more washes?

The more washes that are performed while making soap, the lower the pH level will be. Generally the pH level of soap can vary between 5-8. It is important that your soap is in this range. When soap has a pH level above a 10, it indicates that the soap is harsh. With this high of a pH level, the soap can burn your skin.

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