Chapter 4: Carbon and Its Compounds

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Carbon and Its Compound


Why does micelle formation take place when soap is added to water? Will a micelle be formed in other solvents such as ethanol also?


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 soap is added to water, the hydrophilic end is dissolved in water while the hydrophobic part insoluble in water and form a tiny cluster called a micelle.

The micelle formation will not take place in ethanol because ethanol is a good solvent and can dissolve the hydrocarbon chain in water.

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