Chapter 26: Lipids
The salts of fatty acids have an ionic polar head group, the carboxylate and a long non-polar hydrocarbon chain.
non-polar hydrocarbon polar head
The polar group is
water-loving), the non-polar portion is
water-hating) or lipophilic.
As a result aqueous solutions of this type of compound tend to formed ordered aggregates such as micelles and bilayers.
Here the polar groups are exposed to the water and the hydrocarbon portions are "buried" within the core, away from the water.
These types of structures are important for the working of soaps and detergents, and in biology, cell membranes.
Dr. Ian Hunt
, Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary