Definition of Saponification

Saponification is a chemical process in which the fats, oils, or lipids are converted into glycerol and a fatty acid salt that is called soap. This conversion takes place in the presence of heat and an aqueous alkali such as sodium hydroxide. Animal fats and vegetable oils all can be employed in the process of saponification.


Two types of soaps are produced as a result of it i.e. soft and hard. Softsoap is produced when the alkali used is potassium hydroxide (KOH) whereas hard soap is produced when sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is employed. The saponification reaction is used in the industrial production of soap, lubricants, and fire extinguishers.

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