Scrubbing Bubbles

In this lesson students will examine the structure of tryglycerides – commonly known as fat molecules – and how when they are mixed with a base, sodium is produced that makes water more powerful. Soaps and detergents are made up of molecules that have a non-polar hydrocarbon on one end and an ionic charge on the other. This dual combination is the key ingredient to the cleaning action of soap. Dirt contains oils, greases, and other non-polar compounds. Since water is extremely polar, water alone will not dissolve or clean most dirt.