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How Soap Cleans??

  • Date Submitted: 08/11/2011 10:56 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.6 
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How soap cleans?
There are substances which can be dissolved in water (salt for example), and others that can't (for example oil). Water and oil don't mix together, so if we try to clean an oily stain from a cloth or from the skin, water is not enough. We need soap.

Soap is formed by molecules with a "head" which likes water (hydrophilic) and a long chain which hates it (hydrophobic)because of this dualism, soap molecules act like a diplomat, improving the relationship between water and oil. How? When soap is added to the water, the hydrophilic heads of its molecules stay into the water (they like it!), while the long hydrophobic chains join the oil particles and remain inwards (escaping from the water). In that way, they form circular groups named micellas, with the oily material absorbed inside and trapped. An emulsion of oil in water is then formed, this means that the oil particles become suspended and dispersed into the water. Thus, those oil particles are liberated from the cloth or the skin, and the emulsion is taken away with the rinsing.
In summary, soap cleans by acting as an emulsifier. It allows oil and water to mix so that oily grime can be removed during rinsing. There are more things involved in this process, such as for instance changes in the superficial tension of water, but this is the general idea.

Vegetables and colors

White light from the sun contains all the wavelengths, but when it impacts on an object some of its wavelenghts are absorbed and some reflected. An object is colored because of the light that it reflects. For example red objects reflect 'red' light, which is light with a long wavelength. Many vegetables and fruits are strongly coloured because they contain an especial kind of chemical compounds named carotenoids. These compounds have an area called choromophore, which absorbs and gives off particular wavelengths of light, generating the colour that we then perceive.
The chromophore is formed by a sequence of linear...


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