December 10, 2011 · 1:00 PM
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Learn about one of the historical applications of biotechnology - Soap Making!
1 - 3pm - taught by Mark Kent, Ph.D.
Make your own soap - choose the color, scent and more. Create a special hand-made gift for someone special, or for yourself! And do it with SCIENCE!
This class is appropriate for kids and adults alike. All participants must wear gloves and goggles. Ages 7 and up (with parental/guardian guidance/assistance as appropriate based on age and skill level).
If you want to add specific ingredients to your soap (essential oils, ground oats, etc.) bring them with you to the workshop.
Soapmaking dates back to around the 6th century BC, when ancient Gauls made apomade of goat's fat and ashes; it was one of those arts of civilization lost with the fall of Rome and not rediscovered for several centuries.
Soap is made from two materials: grease or fat of some kind, and caustic soda or causticpotash. Almost any source of grease or fat can be used: beef tallow, pork lard, muttontallow, poultry fat, olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, corn oil, etc. In modern soapmaking,the fat content is often chosen to give specific properties: longer lasting lather, heavierlather, etc.; up until the 20th century, soap was generally made from whatever fats andoils were available. In autumn when animals were butchered, their fat would be collectedand rendered down to make soap; cooks would save any fats that they accumulatedand render them down, as well. Almost any fat or oil can be used in soapmaking. The addition of approximately 20% vegetable oil to the fat will give a soap that is softer andhas more lather. Olive oil was used in the Middle Ages to make Castile soap, and is still used today.