Glossary

Fatty acids

11.16.21

The principal components in the molecular structure of natural fats, vegetable oils, fish oils, waxes, rosin, and essential oils, where they are bound chemical

The principal components in the molecular structure of natural fats, vegetable oils, fish oils, waxes, rosin, and essential oils, where they are bound chemically with glycerin ; this combination is termed a glyceride.  Of primary interest in soap making are the fatty acids obtained from tallow and coconut oil, and to a lesser extent, palm, palm kernel, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils.   Fats and oils can be made either directly into soap by boiling with an alkali, or by a two-step process in which the fat or oil is first split into fatty acids and glycerin, followed by neutralization of the fatty acid by an alkali to produce soap.  The soap thus made is usually a sodium or potassium salt of the fatty acid.  When a soap-based product contains uncombined fatty acids, it is termed " superfatted ." Fatty acids can also be made synthetically from petroleum-derived chemicals and then used in making soap, which can perform as a builder in detergents.