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Research Article Open Access

Determination of Activation Energy of Saponification Reaction through pH Analysis


Saponification is a chemical reaction that produces surfactants and glycerol from fatty acid triglycerides from lye and oil. This investigation is interested in determining the activation energy of the Saponification reaction between the oleic acid triglyceride found in olive oil and sodium hydroxide solution. While the activation energy of the aforementioned reaction is theoretically known, current experimental values still deviate greatly. Since this investigation utilises a different method of rate determination, it is justied as a worthwhile investigation that may potentially provide a more accurate experimental value.

This research paper explains the methodology of using a Venirez pH probe to measure the rate of the Saponification reaction. The pKw values have to also be taken into consideration due to the changing temperature sat which the experiment occurs. The pH values can then be used to measure the concentration of hydroxide ions which can then be used to and the rate constant which subsequently enables the determination of the activation energy. The determined value of the activation energy of this investigation is 2.76 J/mol which suggests that this method of determining the activation energy is valid. However, due to long reaction times, only two temperatures could be tested throughout this investigation which is reacted in a low condense in the reliability of this result. This investigation does however introduce a new method of determining the activation energy of Saponification reactions.

The first draft of this paper was used as an extended essay for a higher level Chemistry course as part of an assignment. The publication of this research paper belongs solely to the Research and Reviews: Journal of Chemistry.

Shin Ji Low

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