Industrial Saponification Processes


There are many commonly used industrial saponification processes. Two that are quite common and particularly interesting are the Kettle Boiled Batch Process which is a direct saponification technique and the Fatty Acid Neutralisation Process which involves two separate steps of hydrolysis and neutralisation. We'll look at each of these in turn.

Other industrial saponification processes include Continuous Saponificaton Systems, where a stream of fats and oils are put into a reactor and a stream of soaps removed. The design of such continuous reaction systems is the provence of Chemical Engineers, and requires the skillful trade-off between the throughput of the reactor and the purity of the output.

It is important to note that the scale of many industrial operations is immense. On the industrial scale, a 10 tonne reactor is considered quite small - some of the kettles used in the Kettle Boiled Batch Process can hold 130 tonne. The chemistry used in synthetic industrial processes is also quite different to that used in the school or university laboratory. Typically, elevated temperatures and pressures are used in conjunction with specially designed metal-based catalysts to perform the reactions. The size, shape and internal roughness of the reaction vessel must all be accounted for when operating at this scale.

Chemistry at the industrial level is something that is quite different to what is experienced in the teaching laboratory, and is often outside the experience of most research chemists. It is traditionally the provence of Chemical Engineers and Industrial Chemists.