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In some areas of the world, soap is too expensive for many people to afford. For these people an alternative exists. They can make their own soap. In general, soap is made by the reaction of triglycerides and caustic soda. However, caustic soda, too, may be difficult to find or too expensive. The aim of this project is to develop a process for making soap from readily available agricultural and household waste materials, and other inexpensive chemicals. By using this process, rural people can get the benefits of readily available, inexpensive soap. Soap is made from animal fats or vegetable oils by saponification using strong base. The simple soaps can be isolated as cakes or bars, or it can be used as water solution. Many reaction conditions were studied to develop a recommended process that can be done using equipment and reaction conditions that can be performed in a kitchen or a fireplace. The soaps from this project were characterized primarily using infrared spectroscopy and several other analytical techniques as well as tests to show their effectiveness.
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Ken Frost, Ph.D.
National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, University of North Carolina
soap, cleanliness, Environment and Sustainability