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Post an Article - MoreBlog Articles > Hand Soap & Lotion

How soaps are made?

Font Size:big - mid - smallnbyongshang   Release time 09-03-26 11:32     view:583   coomment:0   source:

How soaps are made?

Soaps are water-soluble sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids. Soaps are made from fats and oils, or their fatty acids, by treating them chemically with a strong alkali.
 
First let’s examine the composition of fats, oils and alkalis; then we’ll review the soapmaking process.
 
Saponification of fats and oils is the most widely used soapmaking process. This method involves heating fats and oils and reacting them with a liquid alkali to produce soap and water (neat soap) plus glycerine.
 
The other major soapmaking process is the neutralization of fatty acids with an alkali. Fats and oils are hydrolyzed (split) with a high-pressure steam to yield crude fatty acids and glycerine. The fatty acids are then purified by distillation and neutralized with an alkali to produce soap and water (neat soap).

When the alkali is sodium hydroxide, a sodium soap is formed. Sodium soaps are "hard" soaps. When the alkali is potassium hydroxide, a potassium soap is formed. Potassium soaps are softer and are found in some liquid hand soaps and shaving creams.

The carboxylate end of the soap molecule is attracted to water. It is called the hydrophilic (water-loving) end. The hydrocarbon chain is attracted to oil and grease and repelled by water. It is known as the hydrophobic (water-hating) end.
 
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