Chapter 4: Carbon and Its Compounds

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Carbon and Its Compound

Question:

Explain the mechanism of the cleaning action of soaps.

Answer:

The soaps are sodium or potassium salts of long-chain carboxylic acid. The soap molecules contain one hydrophilic end (ionic end)  while one hydrophobic end (hydrocarbon chain).

When a dirty cloth is soaked in a soap solution, the hydrocarbon chain of the micelle attached the oil or dirt particle on the surface of the cloth while the ionic end of the soap remains attached to water. When it is agitated in a soap solution, the greasy particles get spread in water making the soap water dirty. In this way, the dirty cloth is cleaned.

 


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