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Solution - Action of Soap is Due to Emulsification and Micelle Formation. Comment. - CBSE (Science) Class 12 - Chemistry


Action of soap is due to emulsification and micelle formation. Comment.

Solution 1

The cleansing action of soap is due to emulsification and micelle formation. Soaps are basically sodium and potassium salts of long chain fatty acids, R-COO-Na+. The end of the molecule to which the sodium is attached is polar in nature, while the alkyl-end is non-polar. Thus, a soap molecule contains a hydrophilic (polar) and a hydrophobic (non-polar) part.

When soap is added to water containing dirt, the soap molecules surround the dirt particles in such a manner that their hydrophobic parts get attached to the dirt molecule and the hydrophilic parts point away from the dirt molecule. This is known as micelle formation. Thus, we can say that the polar group dissolves in water while the non-polar group dissolves in the dirt particle. Now, as these micelles are negatively charged, they do not coalesce and a stable emulsion is formed.

Solution 2

Soap is sodium or potassium salt of a higher fatty acid and may be represented as RCOONa+(e.g., sodium stearate CH3(CH)16 COONa+ which is a major component of many bar soaps). When dissolved in water, it dissociates into RCOO and Na+ ions. The RCOO ions, however, consist of two parts – a long hydrocarbon chain R (also called non-polar ‘tail’) which is hydrophobic (water repelling), and a polar group COO (also called polar- ionic ‘head’), which is hydrophilic (water loving).

The RCOO ions are, therefore, present on the surface with their COO– groups in water and the hydrocarbon chains R staying away from it and remain at the surface. But at critical micelle concentration, the anions are pulled into the bulk of the solution and aggregate to form a spherical shape with their hydrocarbon chains pointing towards the centre of the sphere with COO part remaining outward on the surface of the sphere. An aggregate thus formed is known as ‘ionic micelle’.

The cleansing action of soap is due to the fact that soap molecules form micelle around the oil droplet in such a way that hydrophobic part of the stearate ions is in the oil droplet and hydrophilic part projects out of the grease droplet like the bristles. Since the polar groups can interact with water, the oil droplet surrounded by stearate ions is now pulled in Water and removed from the dirty surface. Thus soap helps in emulsification and washing away of oils and fats. The negatively charged sheath around the globules prevents them from coming together and forming aggregates.

(a) Grease on cloth

(b) Stearate ions (from soap) arranging around the grease droplets

(c) Micelle formed

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 NCERT Chemistry Textbook for Class 12 Part 1 (with solutions)
Chapter 5: Surface Chemistry
Q: 18 | Page no. 146

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Reference Material

Solution for question: Action of Soap is Due to Emulsification and Micelle Formation. Comment. concept: Emulsions. For the courses CBSE (Science), CBSE (Arts), PUC Karnataka Science, CBSE (Commerce)