MCP mixing surfactant: Sodium Deoxycholic acid

Sodium Deoxycholate acid is a surfactant (detergent) that can be used as a component for both cleaning and removal of old varnish and is part of my MCP set (Modular Cleaning Programme). I love mixing this surfactant that consist of the components Deoxycholate acid and Sodium hydroxide 10%. During the process it goes through various stages that look wonderful. You need patience for it but you will be rewarded. It starts with adding the white powdery deoxycholic acid in demineralised water, slowly wetting the powder on the stirring plate. A creamy white substance is formed. Sodium Hydroxide 10% is added and the following hours a slimy substance is formed. But finally the acid is solved and the solution is cleared!
adding DOA in demiwater
stir well with patience
adding NaOH
the last stage: it becomes transparent


  Properties of Sodium deoxycholic acid:

  • Alternative Names: Sodium deoxycholic acid; deoxycholate, sodium salt
  • Chemical Name: 3, 12-α-Dihydroxy-5β-cholan-24-oic acid, monosodium salt
  • Molecular Weight: 414.6g
  • Detergent Class: Ionic (anionic)
  • Aggregation Number: 5 (average)
  • Micelle Molecular Weight: 2000g (average)
  • Critical Micelle Concentration (CMC): 2 to 6mM (0.083 to 0.249%, w/v)
  • Cloud Point: Unknown
  • Dialyzable: Yes
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Modular Cleaning Programme in practice

Recently a colleague, Judith Bohan who is an interior conservator, called for help. She is working on a project at Haarlem Station. Here the third class waiting room is to be conserved. I was asked for my expertise on cleaning and removing old yellowed and cracked varnish on the beams. I did tests using my Modular Cleaning Programme. In less than two hours we had tested both cleaning and removal and knew what were the best steps to take. We could do a great job, in removing varnish  without damaging the red band. My newest challenge is to calculate how much mixture we need.


final result by Judith Bohan

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