Question

Cleansing action of soap is due to the formation of micelles.

A. True

B. False

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Answer

The correct answer is A. True.

Soaps are primarily sodium or potassium salts of long chain fatty acids. A soap molecule has a structure that includes a hydrophilic (water-attracting) ionic part and a hydrophobic (water-repelling) long hydrocarbon chain.

When soap is added to water, the hydrophobic tail of the soap molecule avoids water and attaches to oil or dirt, while the hydrophilic head remains attracted to water. This scenario leads to the formation of structures known as micelles. In a micelle, the hydrophobic tails of several soap molecules are oriented towards the inside away from water, while the hydrophilic heads point outward, forming a spherical structure that is soluble in water.

Micelles encapsulate the oily dirt particles with their hydrophobic tails and allow them to be washed away with water, thanks to the hydrophilic heads that interact with the water. This property is crucial to the cleansing action of soaps, confirming that the statement about micelles is indeed true.


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