Category Archives: Chapter 4 – Carbon Compounds

The Process of Making Soap from Oil.

Oils are fats in liquid form. Oils are large organic compounds formed by the reaction between fatty acids and glycerol and can also be described as large ester molecule..

Fatty acids + Glycerol —————> Fats and water.

The fatty acids are acids with long hydrocarbon chains and may be saturated or unsaturated. Examples of fatty acids are oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid.

Soaps are produced by boiling concentrated alkalis such as sodium hydroxide (lye) with various fats. The fatty acid in fat will react with sodium hydroxide to produce an ‘organic salt’ which is soap.

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) + Fat ( Fatty acid + Glycerol ) ———–> Soap (salt) + Glycerol

Lye is a corrosive alkaline substance, commonly sodium hydroxide (NaOH, also known as ‘caustic soda’)
Soap is the result of a chemical reaction between oil or fat and lye called the saponification process. The saponification process is defined as the reaction of combining a base (fat) with an alkali (sodium hydroxide) to produce a salt (soap) and a free alcohol (glycerin). The goal of the process is to create soap with no leftover fat or lye.

The oil or fat used in the soap making process may be either animal or vegetable. Animal fats that are used include tallow and lard. Vegetable oils used either alone or in combination include avocado oil, coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil and numerous others. Each type of fat has its own saponification value. The saponification value determines the amount of lye needed to turn the fat to soap.

As boiling of fat and sodium hydroxide takes place, common salt (sodium chloride) is added to make the soap solidify and float on the surface of of the solution. The soap can be added with dyes and perfumes to make the soap look and smell better. The soap can then be separated from the solution through filtration. The type of soap produced depends on the type of oil and alkali used.

Homemade lye soap


The Uses of Palm Oil

There are wide range of processed palm oil products nowadays. About 80% of all oil palm products are used for food applications, while the other 20% is used for non-food applications.

Edible uses of palm oil include:

The composition of palm oil, together with its natural consistency, appearance, pleasant smell and its resistant nature makes it an ideal ingredient in the development and production of a variety of edible oils, in particular margarines and fats. Palm oil is also ideal when making the following products: dry cake mix used for baking biscuits, cakes and sponge cakes, soaps, sauces, fat substitutes used when making condensed milk, powdered milk, non lacteous cream used in coffee and ice-cream.

Palm oil is also considered one of the best oils for frying. This is because it can resist high temperatures and does not produce unpleasant smells.Palm oil as such is used in the home, in restaurants and during the mass production of fried potatoes, French fries, puffy hor’dourves, pies, ring-shaped pastries and doughnuts.

Non-edible uses of palm oil include:
• Soaps and detergents
• Candles
• Cosmetics
• Lubricating greases for machinery used in the production of edible foods
• Grease for bread molds and bread making equipment
• Glue
• Printing inks
• Biodiesel
• Acids to lubricate fibers in the textile industry


Palm Oil : Great Vegetable Oil for Better Health

Palm oil is extracted from the oil palm fruits. An oil palm fruit consists of three main parts, namely the mesocarp, shell and kernel.

Palm oil is more than just your every day vegetable oil. It’s packed with nutrients that contribute to your daily energy needs. Palm oil provides a valuable source of beta carotene and vitamin E. Studies have found that tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are isomers of vitamin E found in palm oil, are antioxidants and may be associated with more favorable cholesterol profiles, and lower risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

A member of the vegetable oil family, palm fruit oil is cholesterol free and it supplies our bodies with some basic daily energy needs.Palm fruit oil contains a variety of fats, vitamins and nutrients, but NO trans-fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids are found pre-dominantly in hydrogenated oils. Several recent studies have implicated trans-fatty acids in increasing the risk of cancer, interfering with fat metabolism, enhancing fatty deposits in the arteries, and reducing the body’s ability to rid itself of carcinogens, drugs and other toxins.

Palm fruit oil is made up of a mixture of fatty acids and contains valuable vitamins and nutrition that our bodies need. Human studies have shown that a palm oil-enriched diet does not raise the level of LDL or total cholesterol, and may even lead to lower plasma levels of LDL, the plasma cholesterol most commonly linked to heart disease. The majority of palm oil’s use in foods – in the baking of cookies and crackers, for example- is in a non-hydrogenated form.


Understanding The Effects of Unsaturated and Saturated Fats on Health

The fat in foods contains a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In foods of animal origin, a large proportion of fatty acids are saturated. In contrast, in foods of plant origin and some seafood, a large proportion of the fatty acids are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Fats are a source of energy. If we take in more food than we need, the excess nutrient will be stored as body fat. Triglycerides are the main form of fat in our bodies and in our diets. They provide us with energy, insulation, and protect our internal organs from damage. They also enable our bodies to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates more efficiently. Despite the many benefits triglycerides have, too much in our blood circulation can cause major health problems.

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health. Obesity will lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus and strokes. Saturated fats are linked to raised cholesterol levels, particularly the ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a kind of fat needed for producing cell membranes and hormones. There are two types of cholesterol, Low density lipoprotein (LDL) and High density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is considered the”bad’ cholesterol which causes health problem, while HDL is the ‘good’ cholesterol.

The ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood can cause furring up of arteries ( arteriosclerosis). This will narrow down the passage through which blood flows and thus increases the blood pressure which leads to heart attacks and strokes.


Fats and Their Effects on Health

Fat is an essential food class which originate from either plants or animals. Examples of fats originate from plants are palm oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, corn oil and olive oil.

Examples of fats originate from animals are butter and ghee.



Fats are organics compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.Fats can be classified into two types, namely saturated fats and unsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are found in animal products and processed foods, such as meats, dairy products, chips, and pastries. The chemical structure of a saturated fat is fully saturated with hydrogen atoms, and does not contain double bonds between carbon atoms. most saturated fats are solids at room temperature because they have higher melting points.

Unsaturated fat is a fat or fatty acid in which there is at least one double bond within the fatty acid chain. Most plant fats are unsaturated fats.The fatty acid with a single double bond is called mono unsaturated fatty acid (e.g. oleic acid), and if it has multiple double bonds, it’s polyunsaturated (e.g. linoleic acid). Unsaturated fats are liquids at room temperature due to their lower melting points. Fats liquid form are called oils.


The Effects of Alcohol on Health

Alcohol in alcoholic drinks can affect the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Alcohol slows down the transmission of impulses between the brain cells, causing impaired judgement and poor balance.

Alcohol comes into direct contact with the mouth, throat, esophagus, abdomen and intestines as well as being absorbed into the bloodstream. Well being issues can start as headaches, feeling nauseated, sore throat or indigestion. Nonetheless, if alcohol abuse continues, these and different alcohol and well being symptoms can turn into extra severe sicknesses and diseases.

Alcohol effect on body health involved many organs in the body, lengthy-term heavy ingesting places you at risk for creating severe health circumstances and illnesses. Listed here are examples of long run effects of alcohol on the physique:

Liver Irritation and Cirrhosis of the Liver – liver irritation signs embody irregular yellowing of the skin, eyeballs and urine, fever and belly pain. And in the case of cirrhosis, as many as one in 5 heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol is especially dangerous to the liver since the liver is needed to metabolize alcohol. Alcohol destroys liver cells, and it destroys the power of the liver to regenerate new cells.

Drinking alcohol any time during pregnancy can affect the baby. Every time a pregnant woman drinks, her fetus is exposed to alcohol. When she drinks, alcohol passes from the mother’s blood through the placenta to her baby. Since, alcohol crosses the placental barrier it can directly interfere with her baby’s development. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can seriously affect the baby’s development. It results in irreversible damage during the baby’s development.

Drinking alcohol can also lead to spontaneous abortion and other pregnancy complications. The baby could develop a group of problems known as fetal alcohol syndrome(FAS). FAS leads to mental retardation, birth defects and developmental impairment.


Uses of Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the organic compounds which has many uses in our daily life.

a) Alcohol is widely used as solvent in making medicines. Alcohol such as ethanol is used as an antiseptics where iodine is dissolved in ethanol to produced iodine solution. Iodine solution is used as antiseptics on wounds.

b) Alcohol is used as a solvent for cosmetics substances, perfumes, ink, shaving lotion, skin conditioners, etc.

c) Alcohol is used to make chemical substances such as formalin, esters, and paints.Methanol is an example where alcohol is used in the making of methyl metacrylate. The methyl metacrylate monomer is used to make Perspex ( glass plastic).

d) Alcohol can be used as fuel.
e) Alcohol by product such as ester is widely used to manufacture artificial food flavourings. Esters like
i) Pentyl pentanoate tastes of apple
ii) Methyl butanoate tastes of pineapple
iii) pentyl ethanoate tastes of banana
f) Ethanol is used to make alcoholic drinks


Characteristics of Alcohol

Physical characteristics of Alcohol

a) It is a colourless, volatile liquid which means it changes into vapour easily at room temperature.
b) It has a sweet smell.
c) It is soluble in water and organic solvents such as ether, chloroform and benzene. Ethanol and water are
also miscible; it mixes with water to form a homogenous solution in all proportions.
d) It is neutral
e) It has low melting point and low boiling point.

Chemical characteristics of Alcohol

a) It burns in air with a blue flame, The burning of alcohol produces
water and carbon dioxide. The combustion of alcohol in oxygen is an
exothermic reaction, Hence , alcohol can be used as fuels in
b) Alcohol reacts with organics acids to produce esters through
‘esterification’ reaction. This reaction needs a little concentrated
sulphuric acid to act as an enzyme.

Alcohol + Organic Acid ————–> Ester + water

The ester formed is colourless liquid which does not dissolve in water. It will float on the surface of the water. Various esters can be produced by reacting alcohols with different organic acids.

Esters are sweet-smelling and volatile, thus they are widely used in food flavouring, fragrances and cosmetics.



Alcohols are organic compounds that contain carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Each of them has an -OH functional group that gives it its special properties, for example ethanol,

Ethanol is the best known alcohol and is the only alcohol that can be used in making alcoholics drinks.

The other alcohols are far more poisonous than ethanol. Methanol is broken down in the body to the highly poisonous formaldehyde, which cause blindness or death.

The production of ethanol

Ethanol is commercially produced using a process called ‘fermentation’. Many other alcohols can be made this way, but are more likely to be produced by synthetic routes – from natural gas, oil or coal.

Fermentation is the process in which yeast breaks down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast are tiny single-celled fungi that contain special enzymes responsible for this reaction.

The word equation for this process is:

Glucose + yeast —–> alcohol + carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide gas bubbles out of the fermenting solution into the air leaving a mixture of ethanol and water.

Starchy foods such as malt, rice, barley and potatoes can be converted into ethanol through fermentation process.

The alcohol obtained through fermentation is purified by distillation.

This process is made possible because there is a difference between the boiling point of ethanol and water.



Hydrocarbons are organics compounds which consist of only carbon and hydrogen elements. Common sources of hydrocarbons are natural gas, petroleum and coal. They are called fossil fuels. Fossil fuels originated from living things which died and were buried underground for hundreds of millions of years ago.

As plants and animals died, their remains settled on the ground on land and in swamps, lakes, and seas. Over time, layer upon layer of these remains accumulated. Eventually, the layers were buried so deeply that they were crushed by an enormous mass of earth. The weight of this earth pressing down on these plant and animal remains created intense heat and pressure. After millions of years of heat and pressure, the material in these layers turned into chemicals called hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbons can be solid, liquid, or gaseous. The solid form is what we know as coal. The liquid form is petroleum, or crude oil. Natural gas is the gaseous form.


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