Performing Saponification In School

Describe the conditions under which saponification can be performed in the school laboratory and compare these with industrial preparation of soap.

Parameter/ConditionSchool LaboratoryIndustry
ProductionSmall scaleLarge scale
Raw materials Generally cheap and limited to Coconut oil, NaOH, water, food coloring and NaClNot limited, good quality and generally include blended fats and oils (tallow, coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil), colorant, fragrances and various active ingredients
EquipmentStirrer, hot plateDistiller, heater, mixer, molder
Temperature and Pressure– Standard atmospheric pressure

– Temperature is about 50-80oC using bunsen burner.

– High pressure (about 4.5-5 MPa)

– High temperature (240-270OC )

Reaction Time– about 1 hour

– Overnight solidification of soap.

– Washing and setting of soap takes several days.
Safety– Follows standard laboratory measures (wear of goggles, gloves, lab gown, etc)– Follows standard laboratory operational rules (wear protective clothing, gloves, goggles, etc)
Waste Disposal– Liquid layer (mainly glycerol, water and excess NaOH) above soap is decanted and transferred to designated waste container– By-product such as glycerol is  purified and sold to the cosmetics industry for cream-related uses