3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2014 3:06 PM by Jonathan Prince

    Newbie question: can a chemical be available in oil and water soluble forms?

    Fanny Phan

      I am researching a chemical "tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate" for a DIY skin care product and found multiple versions of this ingredient:


      - Liquid form, oil-soluble

      - Powder form, oil-soluble

      - Powder form, water-soluble


      They all have the same CAS number (183476-82-6) and molecular formula (C70H128O10).

      I am not a chemist, and tried to do some research but I can't find anything on this. So my question is this: is this even possible?

        • Re: Newbie question: can a chemical be available in oil and water soluble forms?
          Ahmad Hammouri

          i have just checked you compound in the link below

          it has a number of oxygens in it allowing it to be water soluble since the oxygen atoms in it can be attracted to the hydrogen molecules in water


          as for the oil i would presume you are speaking of organic oil, also by the inspection of your compound  you can see an organic  part of the compound


          in chemistry there is a rule that says "like dissolves like "

          you see, your compound has an organic  part and so it can dissolve in organic oils  but not all kinds of organic  solvent are of the same  size of solubility 


          • Re: Newbie question: can a chemical be available in oil and water soluble forms?
            John Woods

            It is very possible since most surfactants have these properties.  I don't know specifically about the compound you mentioned, but it looks to have possibilities.  The powder forms are most likely on some type of carrier.

            • Re: Newbie question: can a chemical be available in oil and water soluble forms?
              Jonathan Prince

              Yes, this is possible and you probably encounter a molecule that does such a thing on a regular basis. The key piece to consider (besides the molecular structure in question) is the golden rule of "like dissolves like", what this means is polar dissolves polar and non polar dissolves non polar.  Looking at the molecule in question we see the center part with all of those Oxygen atoms double bonded to a Carbon atom and  that carbon atom is bonded to another Oxygen atom, this called an Ester and is polar. Water is also polar so using are golden rule we see that the  center part of the structure will dissolve in water, but that's not all of the puzzle because that polar group is bonded to long Alkane chains which are not polar. With Alcohols the limit on solubility in water is about 8 Carbon atoms but alcohols usually have only one Oxygen atom and therefore only one polar area, again the molecule in question has at least 4 ester groups (from what I remember) which are polar, which most likely makes the molecule itself more soluble in water then if it was Octanol. Okay, so now we have the polar side and the water solubility down we can examine the solubility in an Oil. Again using our like dissolves like rule we see those long alkane chains on the molecule which are not polar, oil is composed of long to moderatly long Alkane chains that sometimes contain Alkyl groups attached to them, either way oils are non polar. So it should make sense that the molecule in question is soluble in water and in oil. A molecule that you probably encounter on a regular basis ( I hope) that uses this golden rule is soap. Soap uses the same principles and is even pretty similar to the molecule in question. Soap usually contains an ester at one end with a long Alkane chain bonded to the ester with occasionally a halogen at the opposite end of the ester. Soap uses like dissolves like to pick up any hydrophilic scum on the ester side while the alkane side is used to pick up any hydrophobic scum.
              Hope this helps!