Tue December 18, 2012 By:

please mam explain in breif abot the soap and miscelle formation and the difference with detergents

Expert Reply
Wed December 19, 2012

Soap has one polar end (the end with sodium or potassium ion) and one non-polar end (the end with fatty acid chain) as shown in the figure. The polar end is hydrophilic in nature i.e., this end is attracted towards water. The non-polar end is hydrophobic, but lipophilic in nature i.e., it is attracted towards hydrocarbons, but not towards water.

A soap molecule

 When soap molecules are present in water, the molecules arrange themselves in the form of a cluster in such a manner that their hydrophobic ends are away from the water molecules and their hydrophilic or ionic ends are towards the water molecules (as shown in the following figure). This is known as micelle formation and the cluster that is formed is called a micelle.

Micelle formation

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