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Homework Help: Chemistry Help

  1. Jul 11, 2007 #1
    I am in an on-line chemistry class and I am having trouble figuring out Chemical reactions upon which Cleaning relies on and the role that it plays in the cleaning industry?:confused: Can somebody please help me

    I think it is:
    Fats and Oils

    ...but i'm not really sure
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2007 #2


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    Study Colloids.
    You want to understand polar, lipophilic end, lipophobic end, fatty acid, neutralized fatty acid, suspension, emulsion.
  4. Jul 11, 2007 #3
    Im still confused is Colloids the chemical reaction for cleaning
  5. Jul 12, 2007 #4


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    'Cleaning' is a very general term. Most cleaning chemicals rely on physical processes (such as emulsification) to remove soils and I wouldn't consider their action to be a 'chemical reaction'. If your assignment interprets 'chemcial reaction' to encompass physical processes, then you should Google the terms that Symbolpoint recommends.

    Some specialized detergent forumulations contain materials to remove stubborn soils (stains) such as blood, grass stains, oil stains, etc. Google these terms to research some real chemical reactions used in cleaning. Also try 'hydrolysis'.

    Some 'cleaning' processes are specially designed for the application. For example, if I were cleaning rust stains from concrete, I might use acidic oxalic acid. The forumuation reacts with rust (iron (III) oxide) and reduces the iron to a soluble iron (II) species which can be rinsed away. If I were cleaning silicon wafers, I might use hydrofluoric acid to remove silica (SiO2) from the silicon substrate. Cleaning silver requires its own specific chemistry.

    Try it from there.
  6. Jul 12, 2007 #5
    Here's the assignment

    Choose one of the industries listed below to research.

    clothing manufacture
    food preparation
    food processing
    law enforcement

    Your report should contain information on the following topics.

    Identify chemical reactions upon which the industry relies.

    Determine the role that each reaction plays in the industry.

    How are the products of the reaction used by the industry?

    What benefits does the process bring to the industry or to the larger society?

    Obtain industry statistics regarding the annual consumption or production of the reaction species.

    Has the industry made any recent advances that have chemical foundations?

    Are there environmental concerns that arise as a result of the chemical processes?

    Detail the nature of any environmental problems associated with the chemical processes.

    What solutions and precautions are in place to prevent environmental accidents?
  7. Jul 12, 2007 #6


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    Thats much more general than I had anticipated....
    You should first define for your purposes what comprises the 'cleaning' industry. One example would be 'soaps and detergents used in consumer products'. This would be a fairly large segment of the industry and would be somewhat representative of what you would find for the industrial and specialized cleaning industry. Chemical and Engineering News (C&E News) as an issue devoted to the Soaps and Detergents Industry every year. The website is http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/7903/7903prod1.html. It will give you an overview of the industry's trials and tribulations and might give you an 'experts view' of what is topical at the moment. One timely topic being discussed in the news is the price of beef tallow. Beef tallow is used to make some soaps and specialty surfactants. Apparently the price of beef tallow has risen substantially due to increased demand from the feed companies. It is used to increase the calorie value of animal feed. Normally, relatively inexpensive soybean oil and corn oil were used for this purpose but with the demand for soybean oil from the biodiesel industry and corn oil from the ethanol industry, the price for these oils are now too high and the availability too uncertain for the animal feed market.


    A more introductory view of the industry can be found in Wikipedia (Soap, Detergent, surfactant, bleach).
  8. Jul 12, 2007 #7
    Science is my weak subject so it is taking me time to understand. Thank God Im on my last chapter with my online class. So you're saying that (Soap, Detergent, surfactant, bleach).
  9. Jul 12, 2007 #8


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    I think I said a little more than that... but you decide.
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