General Question

ava's avatar

Is soap a semi solid liquid?

Asked by ava (977points) August 21st, 2008

This is a cosmetic chemistry question…I am stumped. I think yes, however I am not positive.

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4 Answers

ebenezer's avatar

Completely solid liquid. Or sometimes powder, or solid, or liquid, or solution.

ava's avatar

thanks a lot @ebenezer you really are a help…NOT

ebenezer's avatar

ava- well some types of soap would likely be considered semi-solid. But that would depend on the soap.

Harp's avatar

Soap has a complex and difficult to define structure. At the beginning of the manufacturing process, when fats are heated with liquid alkali, the resulting product, called “neat soap,” has a liquid crystal structure (specifically a lamellar smectic structure). In this state, the soap is a iiquid, but has a crystalline lattice structure who’s molecules slide freely against each other.

Neat soap contains a lot of water, so if the desired end product is a solid bar or flake form, the neat soap is chilled and dried. During the chilling process, crystals are formed that can have different morphologies, depending on the temperatures used. Most of these would be considered solids, since they no longer posess the sliding characteristics of the smectic phase. During the drying process, most, but not all, of the water is removed. The remaining water is somehow bound in the solid lattice of the soap crystals. So bar soap might best be described as a solid solution.

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