The results of the soap tests indicate an unsuccessful synthesis of soap. Minimal amount of foam was observed from any the tests. It was expected that foam would be presents in DI water, but decreased in CaCl2 or Trisodium because it makes the water a “hard water” and causes the soap precipitate, make it ineffective. As seen from the results, the synthesized detergent is effective in both soft (DI) and hard (with CaCl2) waters. When the salts were added, no precipitates form.
2. Coconut oil is composed of laureate, a 12 carbon chain fatty acid. When the coconut oil undergoes saponification, there is high glycerin to oil ratio which makes the fatty acid salts more soluble 3. The oils or fats used in saponification would not be soluble in water itself and the reaction cannot occur, or will occur at a much slower rate. Ethanol helps solubilize the fats and increase the rate of reaction. 4. These compounds would be ineffective at removing oils and grease because they have small carbon chains and consequently, small hydrophobic regions.
A better soap will have a charge side so that it is soluble in water, and a long carbon chain that can dissolve and remove hydrophobic compounds. 5. Water can dissolve both soap and salts (like NaCl). Many soaps are sodium salts that partially ionize in water and if you saturate the solution with salt, the salt will remain dissolved because it is more soluble and the soap will precipitate out because of the hydrocarbon chains.
2. Sodium carbonate is used because it is basic and is able to deprotonate the compound in the mixture, but it is not so reactive as a base like NaOH that it will create a basic mixture.
Excess sodium bicarbonate is also relative harmless 4. Sodium methyl sulfate is a poor detergent because it has poor hydrophobic properties.