Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Glycerine 2, Soap 1

New attempt:
  • 380g tallow
  • 5 oz water
  • 86g store bought lye (WAY too much due to miscalculation)
  1. added the lye to the water and let it cool.
  2. melted the fat completely and let it cool for a minute or two
  3. combined the two and mixed lightly
  4. poured into a glass container and set aside to cool overnight.
Result: still an unseparated emulsion in the morning.

tallow on a scale - 380g
Tallow on the scale
cloudy solution of lye and water in a beakerPartially melted tallow in a potUnseparated
Lye and Water MixtureMelting before adding lyeUnseparated result
After 24 hours it was still pretty much a homogeneous gel, so I "remade" it:
  1. melted it over a stove
  2. added a cup of water (to aid in melting)
  3. added a cup of vegetable oil (to balance the excess lye)
  4. left to cool in the metal pot I did the melting in
Result: Really granular/void-filled soap, but definitely soap.

I also collected about a cup of water and a couple ml of cloudy glycerin

The soap was still really granular, and when I squeezed it I got a lot more glycerin. So I divided it into three balls and wrapped them in cheesecloth, then pressed them. This produced dryer soap and more glycerin, but not much more water.

Next note: Decanting two separated liquids is hard without the right equipment. I think that if I were doing this at scale I'd probably find it useful to make some specialized equipment

Day 6: The balls of soap are still in their cloth and still very slick. I think they're still exuding a bit of glycerin. But they do work as soap.

Day 20: The soap is now hard enough to be considered ready

Lye is hard to find these days. Went to 2 hardware stores, a supermarket and 2 drugstores. No dice. Ordered it from Amazon instead. Easy.

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