What is soap?
A: Soap is a salt of a fatty acid used in a variety of cleansing and lubricating products.
In a domestic setting, soaps are surfactants usually
used for what?
A: Washing, bathing, and other types of housekeeping.
In industrial settings, soaps are used as what?
A: Thickeners, components of some lubricants, and precursors to catalysts.
When used for cleaning what does soap do?
A: Soap solubilizes particles and grime, which can then be separated from the article being cleaned.
In hand washing, as a surfactant, when lathered with a
little water, how does soap kill microorganisms?
A: By disorganizing their membrane lipid bilayer and denaturing their proteins.
It also emulsifies oils, enabling them to be what?
A: Carried away by running water.
How is soap made?
A: By mixing fats and oils with a base, as opposed to detergent which is created by combining chemical compounds in a mixer.
Evidence exists for the production of soap-like
materials in ancient what?
A: Babylon around 2800 BC.
Since they are salts of fatty acids, soaps have what
A: (RCO2−) nMn+ (Where R is an alkyl, M is a metal and n is the charge of the cation).
When M is Na (Sodium) or K (Potassium), the soaps are
A: Toilet soaps, used for handwashing.
Many metal dications (Mg2+, Ca2+, and others) give
A: Metallic soap.
When M is Li, the result is lithium soap (e.g., lithium
stearate), which is used in what?
A: High-performance greases.
Unlike detergents, when used in hard water soap does
A: It does not lather well and a scum of stearate, a common ingredient in soap, forms as an insoluble precipitate.
Soaps are key components of most what?
A: Lubricating greases and thickeners.
Greases are usually emulsions of calcium soap or
lithium soap and what?
A: Mineral oil.
In ancient times, lubricating greases were made by the
addition of what to olive oil?
Sodium soaps, prepared from sodium hydroxide, are firm,
whereas potassium soaps, derived from potassium hydroxide, are what?
A: Softer or often liquid.
Historically, potassium hydroxide was extracted from
A: The ashes of bracken or other plants.
For making toilet soaps, triglycerides (oils and fats)
are derived from what?
A: Coconut, olive, or palm oils, as well as tallow.
Soap made from pure olive oil is sometimes called what?
A: Castile soap or Marseille soap.
The term "Castile" is also sometimes applied to soaps
from a mixture of what?
A: Oils, but a high percentage of olive oil.
The earliest recorded evidence of the production of
soap-like materials dates back to when?
A: Around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon
A formula for making soap was written on a Sumerian
clay tablet around 2500 BC; the soap was produced by doing what?
A: Heating a mixture of oil and wood ash, the earliest recorded chemical reaction, and used for washing woolen clothing.
The Ebers papyrus (Egypt, 1550 BC) indicates the
ancient Egyptians used soap as a what?
A: A medicine and combined animal fats or vegetable oils with a soda ash substance called Trona to create their soaps.