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Soap and Detergent

a)Give definition of soap and some examples of soap. Soap is a salt of a compound known as a fatty acid. A soap molecule consists of a long hydrocarbon chain (composed of carbons and hydrogens) with a carboxylic acid group on one end which is ionic bonded to a metal ion, usually a sodium or potassium. The hydrocarbon end is nonpolar and is soluble in nonpolar substances (such as fats and oils), and the ionic end (the salt of a carboxylic acid) is soluble in water. Some examples of soap are is sodium palmitate, CH(CH)COONa. It is formed when palmatic acid is neutralized by sodium hydroxide, NaOH. CH(CH)COOH(aq) + NaOH(aq) CH(CH)COONa(aq) +HO(l).

b)Briefly explain the history of soap manufacturing in a flowchart.

c)Soap can be prepared through saponification.Use a flowchart to show to show preparation process in the laboratory,starting with the raw materials.Include any revelant chemical equation.




3NaOH (heating)


CH2COOC17H35 Glyceryl tristearate

3C17H35COONa Sodium stearate (soap) (Figure 1)

CH2OH Glycerol

Soap is a cleansing agents produced by the reaction between sodium hydroxideand potassium hydroxide with animal fats or vegetable oils. This reaction is known as saponification.

d) Give definition of detergent and some examples of detergent.

A cleaning agent that increases the ability of water to penetrate fabric and break down greases and dirt. Detergents act like soap but, unlike soaps, they are derived from organic acids rather than fatty acids. Their molecules surround particles of grease and dirt, allowing them to be carried away.Examples of detergent sodium lauryl sulphate.

f)Both soap and detergent clean so much better than water alon.Use a flowchart and colourful diagram to summarize the cleansing action of soap and detergent.

1. The cleansing action of soap or detergent depends on their chemical bonding and

a) The ionic head (negatively charged) is soluble in water (hydrophilic) but insoluble in oily

b) The long hydrocarbon tail (neutral) is insoluble in water (hydrophobic) but soluble in
oily layer.

2. Oil cannot be washed away from clothing with water because oil (a covalent molecult0 is
insoluble in water.

3. Lifting greasy dirt from the surface cloth. When soap or detergent is added to the dirty
surface of a piece of cloth covered with a layer of oil or grease.

a) The negatively charged head (hydrophilic) of soap ions or detergent ions dissolves in

b) The hydrocarbon tail (hydrophobic) of soap or detergent ions dissolves in the layer of

4. I the water is agitated slightly, the grease begins to be lifted off the surface. This cause by
the forces of attraction between the water molecules and the negatively charged heads.

5. On further agitation during washing, the greasy dirt is lifted from the surface.

6. Emulsifying dirt in water a) Soaps and detergents can act as emulsifying agents to emulsify oils and grease.

b) The process of emulsification breaks large drops of grease into smaller droplets that
floats in water. The greasy droplets repel on another because they carry the same charge. As a result, the grease is suspended in the solution.

c) When the cloth is rinsed with the water, the droplet will be carried away. d) The cleaning process become more efficient in the water containing the soap or
detergent solution is stirred