~*~ SMF August 2017 Challenge - Rock and Gem Soaps! ~*~
~ Last Look At July Photo Entries~

Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > Lye-Based Soap Forum > Gel Phase???
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-01-2013, 05:30 AM   #1
SoapBubbles
 
SoapBubbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edgewood
Posts: 6
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default Gel Phase???

I am uncertain what gel phase is for. I understand that gel phase usually occurs within the first 15 minutes but I do not fully understand if it occurs in every batch of soap you make or if it occurs only when certain oils and/or procedures are performed.

Some questions that came to mind when hearing about gel phase were:
1.) What exactly is gel phase and what is its purpose in soap making?
2.) Is gel phase necessary for each batch of soap made in order to be considered soap?
3.) If gel phase does not occur, does that mean the batch of soap is considered "bad"?
4.) Do certain oils make the gel phase more likely to occur?

I appreciate any clarification.

Learning Slowly,
Lea Ann


__________________
"Experience is the Teacher of all things." - Julius Caesar
SoapBubbles is offline  
MoonBath Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 05:48 AM   #2
2lilboots
 
2lilboots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 776
Liked 494 Times on 261 Posts
Likes Given: 427

Default

I have had a soap that didn't gel until 6 hours after I put it in my mold.


2lilboots is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 05:49 AM   #3
danahuff
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 625
Liked 358 Times on 205 Posts
Likes Given: 313

Default

Hi Lea Ann.

Gel phase is a point at which soap is undergoing the saponification process and becomes a sort of warm to hot transparent gel, then slowly becomes opaque and more solid, then cools off. If soap goes through gel phase, it tend to saponify faster.

Gel phase is not necessary, and some soapers actively try to prevent it by putting soap in the fridge or freezer. It does not prevent the soap from saponifying eventually. All it does is slow the process down. Some people like it to move more slowly because they like the look and feel of soaps that have not gelled. It's a personal preference.

So is definitely not considered bad if it didn't gel.

I don't know that certain oils make a difference. Some oils cause soap to reach trace faster, but I don't know that any of them necessarily make gel more likely to occur. At that point, it seems that the oils and lye are doing their work.
danahuff is offline  
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 06:46 AM   #4
chicklet
 
chicklet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 515
Liked 344 Times on 196 Posts
Likes Given: 97

Default

I put all my milk soaps (including buttermilk and yogurt) into the freezer to prevent them from gelling. I like the non-gelled look plus I'm a little scared of a soap volcano in the mold from the heat generated as the lye reacts with the sugar in the milk, but lots of people gel their milk soaps and have no problems. Just experiment and see what you like best.
chicklet is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 02:21 PM   #5
Hausfrau007
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 391
Liked 25 Times on 20 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

I've done both. I've forced gel by insulating my soaps after pouring them into the molds by wrapping them in a towel-lined cooler and leaving it for 24 hours. And I've suppressed gel by putting the molds into the fridge right after the pour. Experimenting with both, I find I much like my ungelled soaps, so now that I know a little more about soaping, I avoid gel whenever I can.

Sometimes, when you use single bar molds, for example, gel won't happen, because your molds are too small to retain any heat. Ungelled soaps take about two or three weeks longer to cure (disadvantage), but whether you gel your soaps is just a personal preference.

Some people find that colors are truer after gelling, although I haven't found that to be the case. I only use natural additives and colorants, and my recent alkanet dye has turned out to be a beautiful, deep purple.

Last edited by Hausfrau007; 01-01-2013 at 02:25 PM.
Hausfrau007 is offline  
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 02:58 PM   #6
2lilboots
 
2lilboots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 776
Liked 494 Times on 261 Posts
Likes Given: 427

Default

If you put TD in soaps for a nice white coloring it looks better if it isn't gelled.
2lilboots is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 03:10 PM   #7
Hazel
Lifetime Supporting Member
SOAP_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
Hazel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 12,669
Liked 1806 Times on 1223 Posts
Likes Given: 2032

Default

SoapBubbles -

I wanted to add a little clarification to your comment about the gel phase usually occurring in 15 minutes. Gelling may start to occur in 15 minutes depending on the temps you combine the oils and lye. But it is a phase - meaning it can take hours to heat up enough to make the entire soap become gelatinous. It's been said it takes 24 to 48 hours for the oils and lye to be converted to soap. Generally, my gelled batches have saponified in 24 hours or less. Non-gelled batches have needed 3 to 6 days to fully saponify - zap free!

Sometimes, I get partial gel when gelling or not gelling. The partial gel occurs when not enough heat is produced to make the loaf gelatinous to the outside of the loaf so I end up with a more translucent appearing section in the middle of the loaf and the edges are opaque. Sometime when I'm trying to prevent gel by setting the loaf in the frig, I'll get partial gel either because of additives I've used or because a fragrance oil will cause an exothermic reaction.

judymoody posted a great picture of partial gel. http://www.soapmakingforum.com/f22/m...ial-gel-25839/

As chiklet already mentioned, milk products can cause more heat because of the sugar content. Other sugary additives which can cause overheating are honey, beer and wine.

As for fragrance oils, I can't remember now which ones soaped hot. The Soap Scent Review Board is a great reference for giving information about FOs in soap. However, you have to use a paid email addy to join. http://soapscentreview.obisoap.ca/

There is also a Fragrance Oils Chart which was created by a SMF member. It's really nice because it's very easy to browse through to look at specific fragrances.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...CMTEtswL#gid=0

eta: I forgot to mention salt bar batches. They gel really quickly and need to be cut while they're still warm; otherwise, they're almost impossible to cut and they crumble. I generally have to cut mine in a couple of hours after I've poured them in a mold. This is a bit of a pain so I switched to using individual cavity molds so I don't have to worry about cutting.
__________________
I saw that! ~ Karma
Hazel is offline  
5
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 06:56 PM   #8
SoapBubbles
 
SoapBubbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edgewood
Posts: 6
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

Thank you! I appreciate everyone's help in explaining the gel phase. I also appreciate the picture (by judymoody) that shows a partial gel because I was wondering what it looked like. My bookmarks now have the Fragrance Oils Chart saved for quick reference. I was about to ask about fragrance oils and gel phase ... and surprise! You guys helped with that question before I even needed to post it.

I do have one more question that just came to mind. Would putting the soap mixture into small individual bar shaped molds and then putting them in the refrigerator help stop the gel phase more so than say ... putting the soap into a 1# loaf mold? Also does the rate at which trace occurs have an effect on if the gel phase happens or not? For instance, does a long trace time mean the gel phase is less likely or more likely to happen?

I hope to continue learning more about the CP soap making process before jumping in and making my first batch.
__________________
"Experience is the Teacher of all things." - Julius Caesar
SoapBubbles is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
Hausfrau007
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 391
Liked 25 Times on 20 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoapBubbles View Post
1. Would putting the soap mixture into small individual bar shaped molds and then putting them in the refrigerator help stop the gel phase more so than say ... putting the soap into a 1# loaf mold?

2. Also does the rate at which trace occurs have an effect on if the gel phase happens or not? For instance, does a long trace time mean the gel phase is less likely or more likely to happen?
1. not really -- a one-inch high slab wouldn't reach gel any more than soap poured into individual molds. In order for soap to gel, you probably have to use some sort of a log mold and insulate. An example of a cheap log mold would be a Pringles can or a one-litre cardboard milk container. Insulate those, and gel is sure to occur.

2. nope

Last edited by Hausfrau007; 01-01-2013 at 07:07 PM.
Hausfrau007 is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 09:02 PM   #10
Hazel
Lifetime Supporting Member
SOAP_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
Hazel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 12,669
Liked 1806 Times on 1223 Posts
Likes Given: 2032

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoapBubbles View Post
I do have one more question that just came to mind. Would putting the soap mixture into small individual bar shaped molds and then putting them in the refrigerator help stop the gel phase more so than say ... putting the soap into a 1# loaf mold?

I've noticed a 1" slab mold can reach the gel phase better than individual molds which I believe is because of the larger amount of soap. (More soap to help with holding heat.) However, without a little help from an alternate heating source, I've noticed I get partial gel with the outer edges being opaque. This is why I prefer using a slab for non-gelled batches.

For individual cavity molds, I've found smaller amounts lose heat more quickly than a larger mass. I have to do some extra steps to gel soap in individual cavity molds. (Warm the mold in the oven, blend oils and lye at a higher temp and then either put in the oven or on a heating pad.) I haven't any any problem with preventing gel with smaller molds.


You asked about using a 1# loaf mold. That's not very large but you shouldn't have a problem as long as it's well insulated. I don't know what the mold is made of but a tip I was told to help ensure gelling is to warm the mold in the oven before pouring. This is assuming the mold can warmed in the oven without melting. I warm my oven to between 160 F/ 71 C to 170 F/ 77 C. You can then place the batch back into the warmed oven (I turn it off) and leave the soap in the oven to help force gelling. This is just what I do! Other people have different ways and it comes down to what you prefer.

Also does the rate at which trace occurs have an effect on if the gel phase happens or not? For instance, does a long trace time mean the gel phase is less likely or more likely to happen?

I've found taking longer to reach trace means more heat is lost while blending. Several times so much heat was lost that the saturated oils started to solidify and I thought I had reached trace. Not so - it was false, false, false! The batches ended up not being properly emulsified and one batch separated, the other two took days to stop zapping. They also showed a difference in texture in on the bottom. When I checked this portion of the soap, it was easily pressed together with my fingers and felt slightly oily. I rebatched all of them and the soap was fine.
When you combine the oils and lye at a higher temp (example 120 F/ 50 C), it certainly helps to accelerate gelling. The downside is combining at higher temps means you can reach trace more quickly but it may not give you a lot of time to color and swirl.

I don't know if you've seen Soap Queen's Hot Process series on her blog. She explains the difference between CPHP, CPOP and HPOP. You'd probably find it helpful if you haven't already read it.

Here's a link to one of the tutorials which explains in better detail what I was talking about when I mentioned putting the soap in the oven. I don't quite do it the way she mentions because I don't like to keep my oven on while the soap is in it. But again, this is just personal preference since I know several members have mentioned they leave the oven on for a period of time.

http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-bo...s-cpop-swirls/

I hope I haven't confused you with my explanation.


__________________
I saw that! ~ Karma
Hazel is offline  
5
People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Gel Phase qualitycaprine Lye-Based Soap Forum 15 12-22-2011 09:17 PM
Gel Phase soap1233 Lye-Based Soap Forum 3 03-24-2011 09:14 PM
Gel Phase bubbles1970 Lye-Based Soap Forum 1 09-16-2008 01:42 AM
Gel Phase ? beachgurl Lye-Based Soap Forum 9 08-09-2008 05:42 PM
Gel Phase... Becky Lye-Based Soap Forum 5 03-24-2008 04:31 AM



Newest Threads