US 2343829 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 7, 1944. CLAYTON 2,343,829
PROCESS FOR MAKING SOAP AND PRODUCT THERECF Filed April 15, 1940 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 March 7, 1944. BQCLAYTQN 2,343,829
PROCESS FOR MAKING SOAP AND PRODUCT THEREOF Filed April 15, 1940 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 'March 7, 1944. CLAYTQN 2,343,829
PROCESS FOR MAKING SOAP AND PRODUCT THEREOF Filed April 15, 1940 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 March 7, 1944. CLAYTON 2,343,829
PROCESS FOR MAKING SOAP AND PRODUCT THEREOF Filed April 15, 1940 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 mz y-ffi JJ L/ 103 w ///0 J .15 4/0 /05 i g S PM u. 1, 1944 PROCESS FOR MAKING SOAP AND PRODUCT THEREOF Benjamin Clayton, Houston, Ten,
assignments, to Refining,
mesne rated, a Texas partn assignor, by Unincorpo- Application April 15, 1940, Serial No. 329,803
This invention relates to a process and apparatus for making soap and product thereof, and
more particularly to a process for converting soap into particles of predetermined shape having characteristics rendering them particularly suitable for packaging and for detergent purposes.
The present invention is particularly applicable to the conversion of highly heated anhydrous soap into hydrated particles of soap of definite size and shape. Anhydrous soap, when cooled from a molten condition during continuous movement of the soap. is a friable or powdered material. In accordance with the present invention, the anhydrous soap is hydrated and formed into discrete particles of substantial size as a part of the processor production. 'Ihe resulting product is free flowing when packaged and substantially dustless. It dissolves or disperses rapidly lnwater and can be given the properties of floating for a considerable period of time upon the surface of water without agglomerating into dimcuitly dispersable lumps. Although the present invention is particularly applicable to the conversion of anhydrous soap into a commercial product, it can also be employed to convert kettle made soap into a similar product.
An obiect of the present invention is to provide an improved process of converting soap into particles of controlled shape and size to form an improved soap product.
Another object of the invention is to provide a process of converting hydrated anhydrous soap directly into discrete hydrated particles of substantial size.
Another object of the invention is to provide a process of converting hlshll heated anhydrous soap into hydrated particles of controlled size and shape. 7
Another object of the invention is to provide a process of converting soap into expanded or porous particles of a desired shape and size.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved soap product in which the soap is present as particles of controlled size and shape.
Another object of the invention is to provide a soap product in which the soap is present as porous particles of predetermined size and shape.
A further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for forming soap into small particles of definite size and shape.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for converting soap into porous particles of controlled size and shape.
Other objects and advantages of the invenpreferred embodiments thereof made with reference to the attached drawings, of which:
Figure l is a schematic diagram of an apparatus in accordance with the present invention;
Figure 2 is a sectional view upon an enlarged scale of a portion oi the apparatus of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the lines 3-! of Figure 2; Figure 4 is a fragmentary section upon a still further enlarged scale of an extrusion die in accordance with the present invention;
Figure 5 is a view showing one elevation of the die of Figure 4;
Figure 6 is a fragmentary view showing another elevation of the die of Fig. 4;
Figure 7 illustrates one form at soap produced by the apparatus of Figures 1 to 6;
Figure 8 illustrates another form of soap produced by the apparatus of Figures 1 to 6;
Figure 9 is a view similar to Figure 4 showing a modified form of die;
Figure 10 is a fragmentary elevation of the die of Figure 9;
Figure 11 is a view similar to Figure 10 showing a still further modified form of die;
Figure 12 is a view similar to Figure l illustrating a modified apparatus: and
Figure 13 is a view similar to Figure l iilustrating a portion of a further modified apparatus.
Figure 14 is a sectional view of another modifled form of extrusion die;
Figure 15 is a fragmentary section taken on the line liil of Figure 14 upon an enlarged scale;
Figure 16 isaviewsimilartomure 14 showing a further modified form of die;
Figure 17 is a view similar to Figure is taken on the line li--i'| ofFigure 16;
Figure 18 is an elevation oi the rotary element of Figures 16 and 1'! v Figure 19 is a sectional view of a rotary valve which may be employed with the structure of Figures 16 to 18; and
Figure 20 is a fragmentary section on an enlarged scale of a still further modified form of die.
Referring more particularly to Figure 1, the apparatus disclosed in this figure is-adapted to the continuous production of preformed hydrated soap particles continuously from saponiflable and saponifying materials. Provision is made for removing slycerine or other vaporizable materials from the soap at high temperatures to produce substantially anhydrous molten soap which is directly and continuously converted into the hydrated soap particles referred to. The apparatus tion will appear in the following description of of Figure 1 may include a tank iii as a source of supply for saponiflable materials which are ordinarily glycerides of fatty acids, although fatty acids alone or other saponiflable material such as higher fatty alcohol esters of fatty acids, for example sperm oil, may be employed. as well as mixtures of these materials or mixture with other saponifiable materials such as rosin or abietic acids. The apparatus may also include a tank ll for a saponifying agent which is ordinarily an aqueous solution of caustic soda. although other caustic alkalies or alkali metal salts of weak acids or various mixtures of alkalies may be used. The saponiilable material may be withdrawn from the tank 18 by means of a pump i2 and forced through a proportioning cylinder l3 and then through a heating device I4 to a flow mixer 85. The saponiiying agent may be withdrawn from the tank II by means of a pump I8 and forced through a proportioning cylinder 20 and then through a heating device 2| to the mixer l5. The proportioning cylinders l3 and 28 deliver properly proportioned streams of saponifiable and saponifying materials to the mixer and may be of the D-valve or dummy pump" type having valves controlled from eccentries 22 on a common shaft driven by a motor 23. The details of such a pnoportioning system, as well as a suitable flow mixer, are disclosed in the patent to Beniamin H. Thurman No. 2,142,062, granted December 27, 1938. The proportioning system illustrated is particularly effective for soap production. but any suitable type of proportioning system may be substituted therefor. The heating devices i4 and ii preferably include a coil 24 through which the material to be heated is passed, the coils being positioned in a casing 28 through which any suitable heating material such as heated mineral oil may be passed.
It is many times desirable to additionally mix the materials prior to further heating, and a supplemental mixer which may include a casing 21 in which a rapidly rotating agitator 28 is positioned may be employed. The resulting mixture may be forced by a pump 28 through a heating device 88 which may be similar to the heating device l4 and then preferably forced by another pump II through another similar heating device 82. The heating devices l4 and 21 are employed to aep-. arately heat the saponiflable material and saponifying agent prior to mixing to a temperature sufficiently high that a liquid soap mixture is produced when these materials are mixed. The heating devices 88 and 32 are employed to progressively heat the mixture to a temperature considerably above the melting point of the soap when anhydrous.
The resulting heated soap mixture containing glycerine or other volatile material as well as substantial amounts of water may be continuously delivered into a vapor separating chamber 84 provided with inclined walls '38 surrounded by a heating jacket 38 through which any suitable heating medium may be circulated. As shown diagrammatically, the soap mixture is preferably discharged by means of nozzles 81 against the heated walls of the vapor separating chamber so as to flow downwardly in a thin film thereon. The walls of the vapor separating chamber are preferably maintained at a temperature above the melting point of the soap when anhydrous in order to maintain the same liquid.
A relatively high vacuum, for example, 29 to 30 inches of mercury, is preferably maintained in the vacuum chamber 84. In order to maintain such vacuum. vapors are withdrawn from the vapor separating chamber 34 through a conduit 38 and are preferably delivered to a fractionating column 88 provided with a receiver 40 for condensed materials having a. lower boiling point than water, for example glycerine. Vapors withdrawn from the upper end of the fractionating column 88 are condensed in condenser 4i and delivered to a receiver 42 and both receivers 48 and 42 may be connected to a vacuum pump 43.
By the condensing system shown, water may be separated from glycerine and collected in the receiver 42 while substantially dry glycerine is collected in the receiver 40.
The molten anhydrous soap deposited in the vapor separating chamber 34 is allowed to flow into a conveyor housing 44 provided with a cooling Jacket 45 through which any desired cooling medium such as water may be circulated. The conveyor housing 44 may contain a. screw conveyor 48 for advancing the soap during cooling to a seond conveyor housing 48 provided with a similar conveyor screw 48. The soap is ordinarily cooled in the conveyor housing 44 sufficiently to be delivered into the conveyor housing 48 in a relatively stiff plastic condition. The conveyor housing 44 should be of sufllcient length for this purpose, or more than one cooling conveyor can be employed in series. In order to hydrate the soap, water or water containing desirable modifying agents may be withdrawn from a source of supply shown as a. tank 88 by means of a pump ii and injected in controlled amounts through one or more conduits 52 and 88 into the conveyor housing 48. At the high temperatures prevailing in the conveyor housing, the water readily hydrates the soap to form a homogeneous solution containing a minor proportion of water. Since the temperature in the conveyor housing 48 is ordinarily substantially above the boiling point of water, considerable pressure may be built up therein. As indicated diagrammatically the shaft of the conveyor 48 may have an enlarged end 54 providing a restricted passage for the plastic soap in order to seal the pressure in the conveyor housing 48 from the vacuum in the vapor separating chamber 84.
The hydrated soap or soap solution is delivered from the conveyor housing 48 into a plodder and extruding mechanism 88 which may take the form of a screw conveyor having a housing 88 provided with a screw 51. The details of the soap hydrating and plodding mechanism are more clearly shown in Figure 2, and as illustrated therein the conveyor screw 49 may have slots 88 formed in the flights thereof to receive inwardly extending hollow members 58 provided with ports 88 communicating with the hollow interior of the members 58. The conduits 52 and 58 may be connected with the inwardly extending members 88 in order to indect small streams of water into the mass of soap in the conveyor housing 48. The members 88 also function as devices for preventing rotation of the soap with the conveyor screw 48 and thus insure advance of the soap through the conveyor. The soap is somewhat further cooled by the introduction of water and is discharged as a plastic mass into the conveyor housing in which it is advanced by the conveyor screw 81 toward and through an extrusion die 8|, the details of which are more clearly shown in Figures 4 to 6 inclusive.
A preferred form of die includes a pair of plates 82 and 83 provided with a plurality of registering apertures 84 and 88, respectively. Pins 88 may be supported by spider members 81 in the aperated in vapor form when the assasse turesll oithepiatcll andextendthrougha restrlctedporti not theaperturesllinthe plate is so as to provideior extruding the soap asathintubansshowninr'iguresii and 3, a rotating knife may be ioumaled in a spider Ill. The spider member may be to the conveyor housing It and and 13 shown in Figures '7 and B are relatively small, for exampl having a diameter ranging V4 inch, and an axial length ransins from a: to inch.
The soap particles formed by the extrusion and cutting operations may drop downwardly in a chamber II. In order to assist in removing the soap from the kniie 00 or to further dry the siiap, it is many times desirable to direct a blast of air from a blower 1 shown in Figure 1 through a conduit 11 against the face of the die 0!. Depending upon the type oi particle desired and the temperature of the soap being extruded, the blast may comprise heated or cooled air. when producing particles in the larger size range mentioned, the particles are ordinarily easily separable from the air, but in case smaller size particles are produced, a separator of the cyclone type indicated at Il may be employed to separate the soap particles from the air and discharge the same into the container II.
In carrying out the temperature of heating of the saponiilable material will ordinarily be in the neighborhood of 300 E, but may range from 250 to 350 1'. The is also desirably heated to a this range so that relatively concentrated aqueous solutions of saponiiying agent may be employed and still produce a liquid soap mixture. The discharge temperature from heating device 30 will ordinarily be between 350 and 450' R, whereas the discharge temperature Iromthe heating device 32 will ordinarily range between 500 and 850 F. The pressure in the heating devices M. ii and I0 is usually maintained suillciently high to prevent vapor formation, whereas a lower pressure with resultant formation of substantial quantities of vapor in the heating device 32 is desirable in order to impart sufficient heat to the mixture to cause the glycerine to be substantially immediately libermixture is discharged into the vapor separating chamber ll. The mixture should be substantially completely saponined prior to being subjected to the high temperatures of the heating device I! in order to prevent thermal decomposition of fatty material. In order to assist in liberation of 'glycerinc, the amount x and the amount process of Fi ure l, the
of saponiiying alkali mixed ll veyor housing it lowers this with the saponiilable material may be such as to produce a soap mixture in the vapor separation chamber which is slightly acid, 1. e. has an acidity equivalent to a few hundredths at 1% oi NaOI-l. The liquid anhydrous soap delivered into the conveyor housing 4 will ordinarily have a temperature between 500 and 650 F. The conveyor housing 54: should be at sumcient length or a plurality ol conveyors employed to cool the soap to plastic iorm at a temperature ranging from 280 to 375 1''. Water injected into the contemperature to some extent, but the hydrated soap is preferably delivered into the conveyor housing 50 at a temperature between 280 and 850 1''. The amount of water added to the soap in the conveyor housing 40 will depend upon the nature of the soap oi water to be removed during amounts of water ranging from 10 to 30% of the soap may be injected. 1! a neutral soap is desired and the soap entering the conveyor housing is slightly acid as indicated above, the water for hydrating the soap may have dissolved therein enough alkali to produce such neutral soap. It a iiiled soap is desired, tillers such as sodium silicateor sodium carbonate may be added with the water, for example by injecting relatively concentrated solutions oi these materials instead of pure or slightly alkaline water. In general. the greater the amount of nller, the greater the amount of water which can be tolerated in the finished soap.
Extrusion oi the soap containing a substantial amount of water and at a temperature in excess of approximately 250 1''. will usually cause pulling of the ringlets to produce a particle substantially like that shown in Figure 8. The degree oi pufllng will depend upon the temperature as well as the amount of water in the soap. Too great a polling action is undesirable. as the particle becomes fragile. A rounded particle with a porous surface is preferred. However. by incorporating a lesser amount of water and extruding at a lower temperature, particles having increased mechanical strength and sharp-cut corners such as shown in Figure '1 can be produced.
Although the production 01 soap particles oi the present invention directly from anhydrous soap produced continuously irom the raw materials is the most economical and the nature of extrusion. Thus,
soap may be produced by known processes inketidea so which are intended ventional soap kettles oi tie-made soap containing glycerine or other volatile materials, as well as wate may be agitated in the kettles to maintain a uniform mixture and a stream oi such soap mixture pumped through the heating devices 30 and I! or Figure 1 to rewashed tree from glycerine and other impurities in the kettles in the conventional manner, for example, by employing salt solutions as well as water to produce the conventional neat soap. The
discharged from the soap kettles by means or a jump II and alter the impurities have thus been removed the neat soap can be delivered by a pump 82 to crutchers l3 tillers such as sodium silicate or sodium carbonate are added. Two soap kettles and two crutchers 88 have been illustrated in order that neat soap may be in the process of preparation in one kettle 80 while neat soap is being withdrawn from the other kettle Ill and also that one batch of soap may be mixed with filler in a crutcher 83 while the filled soap is being withdrawn from the other crutcher. Neat soap ordinarily contains approximately 30% water and is suiiiciently fluid to be pumped at temperatures approaching the boiling point of water. Such neat soap contains too much water for satisfactory extrusion in accordance with the present process. However. by adding a dry filler in the crutcher ll, the nature of the soap is altered so that more water can be tolerated and still form a solid soap upon cooling. By maintaining the temperature of the filled soap in the crutcher ll relatively high, the resulting soap may be maintained in flowabie condition so that it can be pumped from the crutcher by the pump 84. If necessary with a particular soap mixture. the crutchers may be closed and operated under pressure in order to enable a sufficiently high pressure to be maintained to produce a pumpable soap mixture. It is ordinarily desirable to pump the soap solution through a heating dovice 85 in order to raise the temperature thereof to between approximately 250 and 350 F. and then discharge the heated soap into an extruding conveyor 38 which may be similar to the conveyor I7 and be provided with an extrusion die 81 similar to the die ll of Figures 2 to 6. Sufiicient water can be flashed from the soap upon extrusion to form a solid particle similar to that shown in Figure 7. To assist in removing water, a vacuum may be maintained in the extrusion chamber II by withdrawing water vapors and condensing the same in a condenser 80 to which a vacuum pump BI is connected. A vacuum seal, for example, a star valve 9!, may be provided to discharge the soap particles from the extrusion chamber 88 into the receiver SI. Since the vacuum in the extrusion chamber 08 need not be extremely high, a star valve is sufllcient to function as a vacuum seal even though such a star valve introduces substantial amounts of air into the vacuum chamber.
Since the amount of water present in the kettle may limit the type of particle which may be prepared, it is usually desirable to remove a controlled portion of the water prior to extrusion. As shown in Figure II. either the neat soap di,- rectly from the kettle or a filled soap containing suflicient water to be easily flowable may be pumped by means of a pump 04 through a heating device 95 and delivered into a vapor separating chamber Ill. By spraying the soap at a temperature above the boiling point of water, for example, at a temperature between 250 and 350 ll, suiilcient water may be evaporated from the soap to provide the desired amount of water in the soap for extrusion from an extrusion conveyor 01 similar to the extrusion conveyor ll of Figure 2 into an extrusion chamber IT. Water vapor separated from the soap may be discharged to the atmosphere through a pipe is and the amount of water retained in the soap may be controlled by the temperature of the soap introduced into the vapor separating chamber 88 as well as by throttling the pipe It in order to maintain a predetermined pressure in the vapor separating chamber 88. Thus, soap of any desired temperature and water content may be delivered into the extrusion device :1 and extruded through an extrusion die II. It is apparent that the extrusion chambers ll of Figure 1, ll of Figure 12,
and 91 of Figure 13 may be operated at atmospheric pressure or under either supcratmospheric or subatmospheric pressure, or with a blast of air, depending upon the characteristics, temperature, and water content of the soap being extruded; or that the soap may be extruded into th open atmospher If the soap ringlets or pellets are extruded into a space having a pressure substantially below the pressure in the extrusion conveyor or other extrusion device, while the soap is at a relatively high temperature and contains water which tends to vaporize at the lower temperature, the soap pellets may tend to expand unevenly as the portion thereof which is extruded first is subjected to the lower pressure while the portion last extruded is still attached to the soap within the extrusion die. This tendency to distort may be largely prevented by extruding the particles into a chamber maintained at a relatively high pressure, preferably a pressure commensurate with the pressure to which the soap is subjected Just prior to being forced through the extrusion die. Thus, the extrusion chamber II of Figure 12 may be maintained under pressure by introducing a compressed gas, for example, air or an inert gas such as carbon dioxide or a vapor under pressure such as steam. By employing such gases or vapors or mixtures thereof, any desired pressure or temperature, as well as any desired moisture content can be imparted to the atmosphere .in the extrusion chamber 88. By regulating the temperature, pressure and moisture content in the extrusion chamber, expansion or drying of the soap prior to cutting into pellets or ringlets can be substantially completely prevented or can be controlled to give any desired degree of expansion. Unexpanded or partly unexpanded particles can be discharged by the star valve 82 into a lower pressure space and caused to expand with liberation of moisture.
Instead of forming soap ringlets as disclosed in Figures '7 and 8. other forms of soap pellets may be formed. For example, as shown in Figures 9 and 10, an extrusion die 89 may have apertures I00 of semi-cylindrical shape. Other forms of pellet, such as star-shaped pellets, for example, a pellet formed by a die "I shown in Figure 11, may also be produced. Flake-like pellets may also be produced by cutting a substantially round or other shaped rod into thin slices. A rotating knife such as shown in Figures 2 and 3 may be employed to cut the extruded threads into short lengths. Such pellets may be extruded at low temperatures and comprise short lengths of solid thread of soap with sharp-cut edges or may be expanded or pulled to have a porous surface and "rounded corners. The present invention may also be employed to produce flake soap. For example, the various pellets described above may be passed between rolls to flatten the same into flakes of substantially uniform size. If desired, such. rolls may be heated to prevent sticking of the flakes thereto, or the flakes may be scraped from th rolls. The rolls may also have finely corrugated surfaces or surfaces provided with small proiections to shape or perforate the surfaces of the flakes.
Instead of maintaining an atmosphere under pressure in the extrusion chamber, the die itself may be constructed to prevent or retard expansion until after the ringlet or pellet has been severed from the soap being extruded. For example, in Figure 14 a die is shown in which the pellet is prevented from expanding radially and the aperture H9. gas or assaeaa under a substantial pressure until released by the some extent longitudinally by being prior to being discharged from the die. In Figure 14 the soap is extruded through the apertures IIII in a die plate I02, in which aperture may be positioned a pin III! supported by a spider Ilil in an aperture III! in a plate I". A plate I01 having its central portion spaced at I02 from the die plate I02 may be provided with apertures m aligned with and of substantially the same diameter as apertures IIII. A rotating knife having thin blades IIII may be positioned in the space Ill! and carried by a shaft III journaled in the plates I02 and "I1. As the soap is extruded in tubular form through the aperture IIII into aperture I29, the knife Ilfl divides the tube of soap into ringlets which are progressively forced through and out of apertures m. If the soap is of a correct temperature and moisture content, the rlnglets in aperture lllll adhere to each other only superficially and readily break into separate ringlets. The bounding walls of the aperture I08 prevent outward radial expansion, and to a large extent prevent distortion of the ringlets due to expansion.
In the die structure of Figures 16 to 18, inclusive, instead of employing a knife to sever the tube of soap into rlnglets a gas or vapor under pressure may be employed for this purpose. As shown upon a large scale in Figure 17, the die plate II2 may be spaced from a plate II! to pro vide a conduit III for gas or vapor under pressure. The pin II! supported in a spider lit in a plate III may extend entirely through aligned apertures III! and II! in the plates H2 and H3, respectively. The plates H2 and H2 may be to at least severed from the soap duit Ill and the aligned apertures Ill and us. When the discharge end of the aperture us is opened and a ringlet of soap has been formed in vapor under pressure in the conduit I It will sever a ringlet from the tube of soap and discharge the same from the aperture lit. The discharge end of the aperture II! may be closed and opened intermittently by means of a rotating member I2l bearing against the face of the plate III and carried by a shaft I22 journaled in the spider I23. As shown most clearly in Figures 17 and 18, the rotating member I2! may be provided with elongated apertures I24 which are radially aligned with the apertures IIII. when a solid portion of the rotating member I2l covers the aperture 9, the tube or soap is forced against the rotary member I2I to form a ringlet of soap, which is severed from the soap tube and discharged from the aperture Ila whenever an aperture I in the rotary member I2l registers with the aperture in.
Compressed air, compressed inert gases or steam may be introduced into the conduit Ill through pipes I25 communicating through ducts I20 in the plate 2 with the conduit or space Ill between the plates I I2 and I I3. As the mechanical pressure upon the soap "adjacent the annular aperture I2II may be considerably greater than the fluid pressure in the pump Ill when the aperture H9 is closed, soap may tend to be extruded into the annular aperture I20. Upon release of the pellet or ring of soap maintained under pressure in the aperture H9, any soap backing up into annular aperture I2li will be added to and discharged with the soap pellet. The pellet formed in the aperture II! is maintained rapidly rotating member Ill and then almost instantaneously severed and elected so that it may expand when subjected to the lower'pressure in the extrusion chamber substantially uniformly in all directions.
It is apparent that fluid pressure may be supplied to the conduit I ll intermittently or in pulsations so that the rotary member I2I may be eliminated. For example, a rotary valve I21 such as shown in Figure 19 and provided with a casin I2! and a rotor I29 provided with a duct I20 intermittently communicating with a duct III and a duct I82 in the casing I28 may be employed. A pipe I23 attached to a source of fluid pressure (not shown) may supply fluid under pressure to theduct I2I. A pipe I" may communicate with the duct I22 and branch into the pipes I24 and I2! of Figure 16. When the valve I21 is closed, soap is extruded through the aperture II8 of Figure 17 into the aperture H9. and when the valve I21 is opened to pply fluid pressure to the conduit III between the plates H2 and N3, the portion of the tube in the aperture I I9 is severed and elected from the aperture IIQ. This allows the pressure in the conduit 1 to drop to a low value and the valve I21 is then closed. Soap is againextruded into the aperture II! and the action just described repeated. The aperture Ill! and pin I I5 cooperate to prevent radial expansion of the soap tube in aperture IIO during extrusion, leaving the pellet free to expand in all directions after ejection from the aperture I I8. By adjusting the speed of rotation of valve I29 relative to the rate of extrusion of soap through the apertures I I8 and I I5, any desired length of soap ringlet may be produced independently of the axial length of aperture I I9.
As shown in Figure 20, a rotary valve is unnecessary to produce pressure pulsations for severin and discharging pellets or ringlets of soap, as a die mechanism having no moving parts can be employed for this purpose. A die plate I" is formed to provide a pressure chamber I86 between the die plate I 25 and a cover plate I31. A duct I28 communicating with a source of fluid pressure (not shown) may be connected through a restricted port I" with the pressure chamber III. II desired, an adjusting screw I" may be provided to vary the eflective .size of the port I39. Soap extruded through the aperture Ill in the die plate I" and surrounding the pin I12 supported in a spider II: in a plate I is caused to flow into the aperture I through which the pin I42 extends. A re- 5 stricted annular aperture I communicates with the aligned apertures Ill and i4! and the pressure chamber I". If the annular aperture I has a somewhat greater cross sectional area than the restricted port I". the pressure in chamber I36 will be relatively low when no soap is present in the aperture I45. Upon extrusion of soap from aperture MI into aperture I", the annular aperture II! is closed and pressure builds up in pressure chamber I 38. when this pressure becomes sumclent to sever the tube of soap and elect the pellet in the aperture I therefrom, a ring of soap is severed and the volume of the pressure chamber I28 is suflicient to maintain the fluid pressure until the ringlet is completely ejected from the aperture I. The pressure in chamber I26 thereupon falls to substantially the pressure in the extrusion chamber and soap is again extruded into aperture I" until the pressure in chamber I" again builds up suflicient to sever and elect the pellet. By correlating the degree of fluid pressure supplied through the duct I38, the rate of soap extrusion, and the size of the port i3! with that of the annular aperture I46, soap ringiets or pellets of any desired axial length can be produced automatically and at a rapid rate. The pellet is prevented from having radial expansion either inwardly or outwardly until either severed or ejected, so that it may expand substantially uniformly when ejected into the lower pressure of the extrusion chamber. of the axial length of the aperture I45.
In all of the forms of dies shown in Figures 14 to 20, the soap tube is severed into pellets before substantial expansion or drying of the soap tube occurs. While the rlnglet form of soap is preferred, it is apparent that any of the dies of these figures may be employed to produce a solid thread of soap. and thus solid pellets, by eliminating the pins shown in the various figures. The diameter of the extrusion orifices when the pin is eliminated will usually be smaller and the extrusion orifice may have various shapes, as discussed with reference to the dies of Figures 4 to 6, and 11, and the pellets may be formed into flakes with rolls or other mechanism as above described.
I have found it desirable to add to the soap to be formed into particles a small amount of phosphatidio material. Such phosphatidic material may be added, for example, in dispersion in water in the conveyor housing 48 along with the water or filler solutions from the tank ills In the case of kettle made neat soap, such phosphatidic material may be added immediately before withdrawing the neat soap from the kettle, or, in Figure 12, in the crutchers 83. The phosphatidic material causes the soap to be much more rapidly dispersable in water and also improves the emulsive action of the soap and its detergent properties. Furthermore, the phosphatidic material imparts increased mechanical strength to th soap particles and provides for greater expansion or pui'fing of the particles without rupture of the surface thereof. Such phosphatidic material may comprise vegetable phosphatides, preferably those free of fatty acid radicals of greater unsaturation than linoleic acid, such as corn or cottonseed phosphatides. Various other phosphatidic materials such as the alkali metal phosphate compositions of phosphatides disclosed in the copending application of Benjamin H. Thurman, Serial No. 311,705, flied December 29, 1939, now Patent No. 2,271,409, granted January 27, 1942, or the compositions of alkali metal salts of hydroxy acids with phosphatides disclosed in the application of Benjamin H. Thurman, Serial No. 311,707, filed December 29, 1939, now Patent No. 2,211,410 granted January 27, 1942, may also be employed. Small amounts, for example, .1 to 2% of the various phosphatidic materials, are eifective. All these materials are intended to be included within the term phosphatidic material" as used herein.
It will thus be seen that I have provided a process and apparatus for converting soap into discrete particles of controlled size and shape, which particles are substantially free of dust and may be made porous. All of the particles discussed above have large surfaces comparedmith their mass and are readily dispersed or dissolved in water. The ringiets of Figures 7 and 8 have the advantage that air is initially trapped in the aperture extending therethrough so as to cause the particles to spread out and float upon the surface 01 the water. The particles, however, rapidly become wet and the large surface compared to their The length of the pellet is independent.
volume causes them to rapidly so into solution. This is particularly true of the pulled particles of Figure 8, and also such particles float for a considerably longer time than the more solid particles of Figure 7.
While I have disclosed the preferred embodiments or my invention, it is understood that the details thereof may be varied within the scope of the following claims.
1. The process of making soap pellets, which comprises, extruding under pressure a small element or plastic soap containing water and heated to a temperature suihcient to cause vaporization of water and formation of porous soap when said pressure is released, and cutting said element of porous soap into short lengths immediately upon extrusion.
2. The process or making soap pellets, which comprises, extruding under pressure a. small tube of soap containing water, said soap being heated to a temperature sufficient to cause liberation of sumcient water upon release of said pressure to cause said soap to expand and become porous when extruded, and cutting said tube into short lengths immediately upon extrusion to form expanded and porous ringiets of soap.
3. Th process of making soap, which comprises, mixing a heated stream of a saponiflable material containing giycerides with a heated stream of saponifying material, the amount of saponifying material being slightly less than that required to completely saponlfy said saponiflable material, reacting a flowing stream of the resulting mixture under elevated temperatures to form a soap mixture which is slightly acidic, continuously distilling glycerine and other volatile materials from the slightly acidic soap mixture in a vapor separating zone at a temperature above the melting point of said soap when anhydrous to deposit substantially anhydrous molten soap in said vapor separating zone, removing a stream of said molten soap from the vapor separating zone, partially cooling said molten soap, and hydrating the same with water containing sumcient alkali to produce at least a neutral soap.
4. The process of making soap, which comprises, reacting a saponiiiable material with a saponifying material in an amount slightly less than that necessary to completely saponify said saponiflable material, separating vaporizable materials from the resulting soap as vapor in a vapor separation zone at a temperature above the melting point ofthe soap when anhydrous to produce substantially anhydrous molten soap which is slightly acidic, and cooling and hydrating said soap with water containing sumcient alkali to produce at least a neutral soap.
5. The process of making soap, which comprises, reacting a saponiflable material with a saponifying material in an amount slightly less than that necessary to completely saponify said vaporizable material, separating vaporizable materials from the resulting soap as vapor in a vapor separation zone at a temperature above the melting point of the soap when anhydrous to produce substantially anhydrous molten soap which is slightly acidic, cooling and hydrating said soap with water containing sufllcient alkali to produce at least a. neutral soap, and extruding a small element of the hydrated soap and cutting the same into short lengths to form soap particles of controlled sine and shape.
6. The process of making soap pellets. which comprises extruding under pressure a small tube of soap containing a vaporlzabie material, said soap being at a temperature suilicient to vaporize vaporizable material near the surface of said soap upon lowering of said pressure to make at least the surface of said soap porous, and cutting said tube into short lengths immediately upon extrusion to iorm ringlets of soap having a porous surface.
I. The process of making soap pellets, which comprises, extruding a small element of plastic soap through an aperture and applying pulsating ras pressure to said element adjacent said aperure to out said element into short length im- -..uediately upon its emergence from said aperture.
8. The process of making soappellets, which comprises, extruding under pressure a smail element or plastic soap containing water and heated to a temperature sufllcient to cause vaporization oi water and formation of porous soap when said pressure is released, and applyin a puisat mg gas pressure to said element of porous soap adjacent said aperture to cut the same :11 to short iengths immediately upon extrusion,
9. The process of making soap peiiets, which :omprises, extruding a small tube of soap through an aperture having a central member applying a pulsating gas pressure to said tube ad acent said aperture to cut said tube lIitO short lengths :mmediately upon extrusion from said aperture, and supporting said lengths on said central menioer during cutting by said pulsating fluid pres sure.
10. The process of making a soap product made up of small elements of porous soap having porous surfaces, which comprises, extrudin under pressure small elements of plastic soap containing water, said soap being at a temperature sufficient to vaporize water from said elements upon lowering of said pressure to expand a substantial portion of said elements and make the sunaces thereof porous, and lowering the pressure upon the extruded elements sudicient to produce expanded elements having porous sur faces.
ii. The process of making a soap product made up of small elements of porous soap having porous surfaces, which comprises, delivering a heated stream of soap containing water and other vaporizable materials into a vapor separatmg chamber, separating said vaporlzable materials in vapor form from said soap at a temperature above the melting point of said soap when anhydrous to deposit anhydrous molten soap in said chamber, continuously removing a stream of said soap from said chamber, partially cooling the same, hydrating said partially cooled soap under pressure to produce a plastic soap containing water, extruding under pressure small elements of said plastic soap containing water, said soap being at a temperature suflicient to vaporize water from said elements upon lowering of said pressure to eX- pend said elements and make the surfaces thereof porous and lowering the pressure upon the extruded elements suflicient to produce elements having a porous structure and having porous surfaces.
12. As a product of manufacture, a soap prod uct comprising small elements of soap having a rounded surface which is porous and having at ieast a substantiai portion or the element adjacent said surface puffed to roduce a porous structure, said soap being produced by extruding under pressure a plastic soap containing a vaoorizame Zilditll'lfli and lowering the pressure upon the extruded soap to vaporize a suiiicient amount of said vaporizabie materiai to produce said porous structure .3, as a product of manuiacture, a soap product JOZIlDHSJ-Hg small elements a! soap having a rounded surface which is porous and having at least a substantial portion oi the element adjacent said surface puffed to produce a porous structure, said soap being produced by extruding under pressure a plastic soap containing water and lowering the pressure upon the extruded soap to vaporize a suflicient amount of said water to produce said porous structure.
14. As a product of manuiacture, a soap product comprising small elements of soap having a rounded suriace which is porous and having at Jessi. ai suostantiai portion of the element adiacent said surface puffed to produce a porous structure, said soap being produced by extruding under pressure a plastic soap containing water and a small amount of phasphatidic material and lowering the pressure upon the extruded soap to vaporize a suflicient amount of said water to produce said porous structure.