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Saponification Value Calculator

Created by Komal Rafay
Reviewed by Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate and Adena Benn
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


Our saponification value calculator is one of those tools that you didn't know you needed until you found it. You might have already guessed that it calculates the saponification value of fats and oils that can make soap. But did you know that is not all you will learn today?
This article has a lot in store for you:

  • How to calculate saponification value;
  • What is the saponification number; and
  • Some saponification value calculation examples and much more.

So, let's dive in and soak in all the knowledge.

What is saponification value?

Saponifying is the process of making soap.

The saponification value helps you to determine whether a particular fat or oil can make good soap. You may denote it as SV or SN.

The saponification value or saponification number indicates the amount of potassium or sodium hydroxide needed to saponify one gram of fat.

The saponification number is also crucial in helping to determine the parts of the fat that do not make soap (which we will learn about in a later section).

Another synonym for SV is the Koettstorfer number.

The unit used to measure the saponification value is mg/g (milligrams per gram).

🙋 Might we suggest trying out our protein solubility calculator to determine the protein content in different foods?

Saponification value calculator

You'd be glad to have access to the saponification value calculator, as we don't just give you the value as a result but talk about how it happens.

Now, we will look at how you can use this tool and determine the saponification value.

  1. Input the volume of the HCl (hydrochloric acid) solution of the blank run in milliliters; blank runs set the baseline for experiments and are taken place in the absence of an analyte (the substance to be tested).

  2. Input the volume of the HCl solution of the sample. You may choose any unit as per your requirement; the default is milliliters(ml).

  3. Input the molarity of the HCl solution. The default unit is moles per liter (mol/L).

  4. Lastly, input the weight of the fat/oil. The default unit is grams, but you can choose any based on your requirement.

  5. The tool displays the result as the saponification value of the fat in milligrams per gram(mg/g).

For instance, if you enter the blank run as 3.7 ml3.7 \text{ ml}, the sample run as 2.1 ml2.1 \text{ ml}, the molarity of HCl as 40 mol/L40 \text{ mol/L}, and the weight of the fat as 52 g52 \text{ g}, the tool determines the saponification value of 69.05 mg/g69.05 \text{ mg/g}.

💡 We have a molarity calculator, a tool for converting the mass concentration of any solution to molar concentration (or recalculating grams per ml to moles). You may want to check it out.

Significance of saponification value and unsaponifiables

Saponification value helps check for adulteration, a process of adding a substance to another, reducing the original substance's quality and effectiveness.

We can also determine the oil's ability to make soap by observing its saponification number. If it is low, then the oil won't be able to make soap, and if it is high, the fat is better at making soap.

Knowing the saponification value is useful in identifying the amount of "the unsaponifiable matter in the fat."

You might be wondering what unsaponifiable matters are. Well, think of them as your least favorite subject in school. You might not like it, but it is still part of the syllabus. In the same way, fats have components that do not make soap but are still a part of the fat. They are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents.

Just like you must pass your least favorite subject to complete school, the unsaponifiable matters are significant in providing other properties to the soap, like moisturization and texture. Still, they cannot exceed a certain amount.

🔎 Would you like to try out our molecular weight calculator? It computes the mass of a given molecule without using the periodic table of elements.

Saponification value formula

Knowing the formula for something as significant as the saponification number seems worth the effort.

SV=(BlankSample)×Molarity×56.1Weight\scriptsize \rm SV = \frac {(Blank - Sample) × Molarity × 56.1} { Weight}

where:

  • SV\text{SV} – The saponification value;
  • Blank \text{Blank } – The volume of HCl(hydrochloric acid) solution for the blank run;
  • Sample\text{Sample} – The volume of HCl the sample to test;
  • Molarity\text{Molarity} – Molarity of HCl solution;
  • 56.1\text{56.1} – Molecular weight of KOH (potassium hydroxide); and
  • Weight\text{Weight} – Weight of the sample.

Saponification value table

The soaps made with KOH are different from the ones made with NaOH (sodium hydroxide), which homemade soap makers use. NaOH is also known as lye, and it produces soap bars, unlike KOH-based soaps that make paste and gel or liquid soaps.

The SV values are also significant in determining the amount of lye needed to make soap bars.

Below is a table for some common oils and fats and their saponification number.

Oil / Fat

Saponification value

Beeswax

60-102

Canola oil

182-193

Cocoa butter

192-200

Coconut oil

248-265

Fish oil

179-200

Lard

192-203

Olive oil

184-196

Shea butter

170-190

Soybean oil

187-195

Sunflower oil

189-195

FAQ

How can I calculate the saponification value of oils?

The saponification number, though crucial, is easy to calculate. Follow the steps below, and you will have the answer.

  1. Subtract the volume of HCl for the sample from the blank;
  2. Multiply the result by the molarity of the HCl solution;
  3. Next, multiply the result by 56.1, the molecular weight of potassium hydroxide; and
  4. Lastly, divide the result by the sample's weight in grams.

What is the saponification number if molarity and weight are 0.7mol/L and 20g, respectively?

The saponification number is 3.534 mg/g if the molarity is 0.7 mol/L and the weight of the sample is 20 g.

To achieve this result, the volume of HCl solution for the blank run is 2 ml and 0.2 ml for the sample.

What does a high saponification value mean?

A large saponification number(SV) indicates an oil's ability to make good soap. You can also determine the fatty acid chain length of the sample using the SV. A higher SV means a small to medium-length chain.

The higher the saponification value is, the better the oil can saponify (produce soap).

Is saponification value the same as saponification number?

Yes, saponification value is also called saponification number. They both mean the same thing. And it is sometimes also referred to as Koettstorfer number.

The saponification value denotes the amount of potassium or sodium hydroxide (KOH), (NaOH), in milligrams, needed to create soap from one gram of fat.

Komal Rafay
HCl for blank (B)
ml
HCl for sample (S)
ml
Molarity (M)
mol / 
l
Weight of oil / fat (W)
g
Saponification value (SV)
mg/g
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