Letter | Published:

Role of the Hydroxyl Group in the Gelation of Aluminium Soaps in Hydrocarbons

Nature volume 162, pages 101102 (17 July 1948) | Download Citation



IN most of the early investigations, aluminium soaps were prepared by aqueous metathesis between a soluble soap and an aluminium salt. As pointed out by McBain1, the result of reaction between a weak acid and a weak base is not likely to produce a stable salt. The tendency of aqueous solutions of aluminium salts to precipitate aluminium hydroxide over a range of pH is well known, so some at least of soap prepared by aqueous metathesis is likely to consist of fatty acid adsorbed on to precipitated aluminium hydroxide. Analogous to the alumino silicates, alums, etc., one could associate a co-ordination number of four or six with aluminium, giving many different possibilities of co-ordination with fatty acid radical, undissociated fatty acid and water. When the effect of pH, heat and method of preparation on such a heterogeneous system2 is considered, it is not surprising that results are difficult to duplicate.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , and , J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 54, 3266 (1932).

  2. 2.

    , and , J. Coll. Sci., 1, 221 (1946). , , and , J. Phys. and Coll. Sci., 51, 963 (1947).

  3. 3.

    , Ph.D. Thesis.

  4. 4.

    , and , J. Phys. Chem., 39, 1125 (1935).

  5. 5.

    , Trans. Farad. Soc., 42 B, 173 (1946).

Download references

Author information


  1. Department of Colloid Science, University, Cambridge. March 10.

    •  & J. H. SCHULMAN


  1. Search for T. S. MCROBERTS in:

  2. Search for J. H. SCHULMAN in:

About this article

Publication history





By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.