Soap, molecular structure

Soap, molecular structure

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Soap. Computer artwork showing how the molecular structure of soap works to separate water (blue) and oil (centre, yellow). Soap is a surfactant - a compound that lowers the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid. The surfactant molecules have oil-soluble tails that project into the oil, while the water-soluble heads (round) remain in contact with the water, thus isolating the oil within the water.

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Keywords: aqueous suspension, artwork, chemical, chemistry, cleaning, emulsion, fat, fatty acid, head, heads, hydrophilic, hydrophobic, illustration, micelle, molecular structure, molecule, molecules, oil, oil-soluble, round, salt, soap, surface tension, surfactant, tail, tails, washing, water, water-soluble, white background

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