MadSci Network: Chemistry

Subject: Chemical Reaction of Sodium Carbonate Dissolving Oil Stain

Date: Tue Dec 13 09:37:36 2005
Posted by Scott
Grade level: 7-9 School: Pikesville
City: Baltimore State/Province: MD Country: USA
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1134491856.Ch

    I would appreciate some guidance in finding additional information.

    I plan to do a science fair project where I will dissolve just sodium 
carbonate (washing soda) in hot water to remove an olive oil stain from cotton 
fabric. No other detergents or laundry boosters will be added and the water is 
soft and the sodium carbonate will not have to worry with "neutralizing" the 
magnesium and calcium deposits, etc. I plan to use different amounts of the 
sodium carbonate to see if a larger amount will dissolve the stain faster.

    My dilemna is that per my research via the internet, science dictionaries 
and encyclopedias I could not get an explanaation on the chemical process. I do 
not have access to university libraries and the public library is limited in 
their science/chemistry information. Either none was offered or too advanced 
for my purposes. I have had some chemistry, but will not have a complete 
chemistry unit until next year in 10th grade.

Per my research, several scenarios should occur:

1) the sodium carbonate should create an emulsion that will list the stain from 
the fabric;

2) this process is the result of hydrolysis; and

3) a mild saponification could occur and convert the stain into "soap."

Your input and help would be greatly appreciated as where I could find the 
additional information.

Thank you.


Re: Chemical Reaction of Sodium Carbonate Dissolving Oil Stain

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