Creation Of Soaps And Detergents For The Cleanup Of An Oil Spill Without Usage Of Animal Components

The goal of this project was to help the environmental group find a way to make a soap or detergent that was useful enough for the cleanup of an oil spill. However, the only way we could make it was the use of lard. Most of them were animal lovers, so they wanted a soap that was an animal friendly method. Our goal was to create and experiment the detergents and soaps that would be acceptable to the environmental group. To be successful, we had to test the solubility of oils, fats, detergents, and soaps. We then had to compare desirable properties of the created detergents and soaps to uncover the best of each class. We also had to test the environmental impact of detergents, soaps, and their respective wastewater. The environmental group also stated that a scummy slime from a previous oil spill was left as the result of the cleanup. So, our goal is to create a detergent or soap to discover the cause of the slime so it won’t happen in the future.

As required by the group to solve the problems, from our experiments we found the following. In the solubility test, detergents are slightly soluble in water, while soaps are also soluble in water because soaps and the detergents have ends which are hydrophobic and hydrophilic (see Table 1). The hydrophilic ends stick out and attach to polar molecules, and the hydrophobic ends form a micelle around oil and grease molecule.

Soap is formed through a process known as saponification where the ester is hydrolyzed with a basic solution. Fat contains long chains which exist as triglyceride which is formed by the combination of fatty acids with glycerol. The glycerol has an –alcohol functional groups (-OH) while the fats also contain a carboxylic group (-COOH group). The three fatty acids react to the glycerol molecule to form tri-esters of glycerol. When the tri-ester reacts with aqueous sodium hydroxide, they are converted into soap and glycerol through the saponification process. Sodium chloride is used to sort out the soap from the glycerol. At the end of the soap chain, there is the hydrophilic end, which is the carboxylic part of the soap, while the fatty acid region has the hydrophilic end. The hydrophilic end allows the attachment of the water molecules, while the grease molecules are attached to the hydrophilic end.

In the detergents, are made from long chains alcohol (C10-C18), e. g. , lauryl alcohol. Sulfuric acid is used to sulphonate the alcohol, which is later neutralized with sodium hydroxide. The detergent used in the experiment is known as the anionic because it has a carbon attached to it and also it has sulphur, which is negatively charged hence making the entire structure to be negatively charged (Acid-Base, 2002). After creating the detergents, you can notice that when adding the sulfuric acid, it turned a very cloudy white, and after filtering it was powdery. Latherablity is also important to finding out which soap is useable. When bubbles are produced, this is when the soap is lathered. The soap for the clothes should lather effectively because the bubbles produced by friction will seize the oil and the dirt, which on the other hand, cleans the clothes. When the soap is used on clothes, the dirt and oil will come together and rise to the surface, on top of the water. These results showed that vegetable oil, lard, olive oil, and shortening were effective in cleaning, but the olive oil was proven to be better because it formed more bubbles than the lard, shortening, and vegetable oil. It was important to know if the soaps were soluble in the water. It was revealed that the olive oil soap, vegetable oil soap, detergent, and lard soap were partially soluble or soluble in water. In acetone, they were not soluble in vegetable oil soap, lard soap, olive oil soap, and shortening soap, but was soluble in detergent. In NaOH, it was not soluble in olive oil soap and detergent, but was soluble in vegetable oil soap, lard soap, and slightly in detergent. In HCI, it was slightly soluble in lard soap and vegetable oil soap, but was insoluble in olive oil soap, shortening soap, and detergent. This could be because oils do not dissolve in water at all because they are immiscible, which means they do not mix well. Oil is made up of nonpolar molecules and plus that water is polar. Nonpolar molecules dissolve nonpolar molecules and polar molecules dissolve polar molecules, so basically the oil and water do not mix well.

A pH probe was connected to my computer using the software “Pasco Capstone” for the titration of HCl or sodium hydroxide with each wastewater to find the pH. Titration is a technique that determines the concentration of an unknown solution. In the burette, was a solution of known concentration, and so for this experiment, we used the HCI to titrate the detergents and the soaps because HCl is a strong acid. Our results from the titration shows that the soaps made of the following: olive oil, vegetable oil, shortening, lard, and detergent one/two, all took around 70 to 100 mL to neutralize the wastewater to full strength. By neutralizing it to full strength, the wastewater will change from its acidic or basic pH to a neutral pH, which is around seven. This is performed to see which detergent and soap is more logical to make. By titrating the wastewater, it can show how much of an acid or base it will take to make it neutral. If it takes large quantities, the detergent or soap is most likely not environmentally friendly and will take too much time in order to make it a good soap for the environment to be used.

Tests were made in the best soap (olive oil) and the best detergent (method #1) in well water and pond water, which had a pH level to be five and two, respectively. The initial solubility that was soluble was with the olive oil soap in the pond water, but in well water it was not soluble. The detergent (method #1) was not soluble in either pond or well water. After neutralizing the water samples with NaOH, the pond water with olive oil soap still shows that it is fully soluble. The rest of the samples change, but partially soluble. We determined that by shaking the test tube and observing it, which we noticed that there was still little clumps on top. In the pH test, the tested substances were strong base; Detergent required the least amount of drops to neutralize it. The pH test of water, pond waters was found to be acidic and was titrated with sodium hydroxide to neutralize its pH. For the flame test, the existence of cations was found and identify. This is done to see if there was any containments in the water samples. It was concluded after performing the test, pond water had no color, so that indicated that magnesium was present, while in well water, it indicated that calcium was present with a faint red, which specifies high mineral content.

Also known as hard water, the detergents and soaps will respond to the high mineral content by precipitating. The only time soap scums appear is when hard water is mixed, and that usually contains either magnesium or calcium ions. The calcium ions that are connected to the soaps negatively charged end will bond together and create a precipitate, which also results in soap scums. This causes soaps to no longer we soluble in water. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) was incorporated into the well water to hide the effects of the calcium ion in the solution. EDTA is very important to immobilizing the enzymes from the remover of metal ions, especially calcium and establishing stable chelates with them. This can even make the well water less harmful for the environment. Detergent one was selected as the best cleaning agent for the detergent side, since it was soluble in water, formed minimal scum residue it ahead good lubricating properties and it easily removed the stains. After carrying out various tests such as properties, pH the solubility and the cleaning ability on each soap we made, and the detergents, we concluded detergent one as the best cleaning agent for the environmental group. Furthermore, detergent one was better than detergent two, because after mixing sulphuric acid with the alcohol, it was given enough time to undergo sulphonation fully.

There were errors made during the experiment; these errors were as a result of either apparatus or human error. Some of these errors include using one detergent in carrying out the tests as the second made detergent was not given full time to undergo full sulphonation hence yielded very little substance to work with and also inadequate time made the detergent not be reused again. Also, the drop counter device had errors while counting the number of drops since either the droplets were falling first thus limiting the device to count each drop.

In conclusion, the experiment was able to meet its goals, through performing the various test on the soaps and detergents. During the experiment can carry out solubility tests and comparing the properties of soap and detergents. We were able to find the solution for the group since we experimentally prove that detergent one and the olive oil soap was the best cleaning agent for the environmental group for the cleanup. But, as a team, if we had to pick one it would’ve been the olive oil soap because it’s the best at lathering and cleaning, and that it formed more bubbles than the lard, shortening, and vegetable oil. Plus, it was close in titration with our best detergent, only needing like two drops to be the same neutralization as the detergent one. In the end, it’s very good for the environment, plus it can help the fabric of your clothes if stained.

01 April 2020
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