delirium happy

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Vinegar and soap
delirium happy
rho
The best thing about being an incurable science geek is sometimes having completely random thoughts about why things might work the way they do. The worst thing about being an incurable science geek is frequently not being knowledgable enough to tell if you're random thought is in any way, shape or form correct. Hopefully there'll be at least someone here who's more well versed in organic chemistry than I am, and who will be able to help me out.

See, I was thinking about vinaigrette. 1 part oil to 4 parts vinegar. And vinegar is mostly water. And oil and water don't mix. And while you do get some separation in vinaigrettes if you let them settle, it generally tends to emulsify rather well. So I'm presuming that the ethyl group in the ethanoic acid must bond with the oil, and the acid bit bond with the water, working in essentially the same way that soap does.

So my question to those more knowledgable than I am: is my scientific intuition right on this one or not?

(And I still haven't found myself a suitable science geek icon that I like. Tsk.)

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Vingar is a roughly 0.1M solution of acetic acid in water. When you mix the oil and water in vinegrette you obtain a colloidal emulsion.

Basically you have small droplets of the oil suspended in the water from the vinegar. This is why you have to whisk the oil and water to allow the emulsion to form.

This page explains it a bit better than I can.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulsification

I thought that when you made up a vinagrette dressing you usually added some sort of emulsifier, like mustard. I know for a fact that mustard does act as an emulsifier for vinagrette when compared to making dressing without it.

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