Organic Chemistry

Oils and Fats

Fats and oils are essentially the same type of material. The difference (with a few exceptions) between the two is that, at room 

temperature, oils are liquids and fats are solids.  Collectively, fats and oils are referred to as triglycerides, as they are made 

up of glycerol and three fatty acids connected through a dehydration reaction.

            Triglycerides are hydrophobic, meaning they “fear water.”  This means that no fats or oils will dissolve in water.  They 

are slightly more soluble in ethanol than they are in water, but are still not very soluble.  The solubility of triglycerides in 

acetone is much higher than either ethanol or water.  When soap is mixed in with a triglyceride and water, it acts as an 

emulsifying agent and disperses the triglycerides with the water in tiny bubbles.  Sudan III is a dye in which fats and oils 

dissolve.  If water is added to Sudan III, they wouldn’t mix but something like olive oil would.

            It can be concluded that triglycerides are good sources of energy because when they are burned, a great orange flame 

is made. It lasts for a while, depending on how much material is being burned.  A black deposit (carbon) is left behind after 

the flame. If water was added to this fire, instead of putting the fire out as expected, it only makes the fire spread out.  This is 

because the oil being burned is hydrophobic and is pushed away by the water, only to make a larger fire.