Testing Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers stop oil and water mixtures from separating. The better an emulsifier is the longer it will take for the oil and water to separate. You can use the method below to test a variety of chemicals for their emulsifying properties.


  • Boiling tube
  • Stopper
  • Timer
  • Boiling Tube Rack
  • Measuring Cylinder
  • Pipette
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Solutions to test



  1. Put 5cm3 of vegetable oil into a boiling tube.
  2. Add 5cm3 of water.
  3. Add 10 drops of emulsifier from a pipette.
  4. Put in the stopper.
  5. Invert the tube 10 times to mix the liquids.
  6. Time how long it takes for a separate layer of oil to begin forming on the top of the mixture.
  7. Repeat this 3 times so that you can calculate mean values.

Risk Assessment

Always assume that chemicals are harmful, wear safety spectacles to protect your eyes. Oil spilt on the floor is a slipping hazard, deal with spillages quickly.


Substances to test

  • Washing up liquid
  • Egg yolk
  • Hand Wash
  • Sodium chloride solution
  • Soap powder
  • Water (this will give you data so that you can compare the effectiveness of the other chemicals)


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