Soap chemistry

Saponification and gel formation

Gel or not gel

Maybe the subject gel is the most controversial of all the issues of cold process. Half say it is necessary to attain the gel, the other does not care. I did some experience on this controversial topic of gel formation.

Was accompanying the development of gel formation, measuring the temperature and time. I used the standard formula olive / babassu / palm / castor: 30/30/35/5. I used this box of Styrofoam to have better insulation. Do not get the temperature measurement such as infrared thermometer is, it only measures the surface temperature. Because there is a temperature gradient from inside to outside, the temperature inside should certainly be greater.

Repeat the experiment using a digital thermometer for food which is inserted into the mass. Thus it was possible to measure more accurately the temperature of the saponification reaction and gel formation.

This is the graph of measurement of temperature against time. It can be seen that the highest temperature occurs near the beginning of gelation: 2 hours, 60 ° C. Until now the big question is: what gel formation influence the properties of soap and what factors affect such formation?

I found, well after I did these experiments, an excellent work of Prof.. Dr. Kevin M. Durr ( on this subject, which elucidated the most doubts. I decided to translate part of this article by Dr. Kevin to increase our knowledge base.

See the gel took the entire volume of this block of soap citrus.