Let us look at the iodine value definition in analytical chemistry. The iodine value, also known as the iodine number, is a measure of the degree of unsaturation of fat, wax, or oil; it is expressed in gms, the amount of iodine, which is taken up by 100 gms of the fat, wax, or oil. Iodine is not taken up by saturated oils, waxes, or fats, because their iodine value is zero; however, iodine is taken up by unsaturated fats, oils, and waxes.
Saturated vs Unsaturated Fats
Fat is an ester of fatty acids found in a variety of food materials and animals. This is a hydrocarbon chain that has glycerol in one of its ends. There are usually two types of fat we find saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are the chain that contains all single-bonded carbon-carbon bonds. This is denoted by the C-C bond and as the carbon atoms are fully bonded with two hydrogens there is no possibility of any more hydrogen atoms being bonded with the carbon. Each carbon atom is bonded with two other carbon and two hydrogen atoms in the chain. These are very stable molecules and it is very hard for them to get emulsified. Unsaturated fats have a double or triple-bonded carbon chain in them. This leaves room for future reactions of the chain where it can get bonded with the hydrogen atoms and even get emulsified with relative ease. Each triple or double bond can be broken into a single bond and hydrogen atoms get added to the carbon atom.
When it comes to fat they have a very bad reputation as many of them are associated with life-threatening diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. But not all fats are the same and our body requires certain types of fats to carry out its day-to-day activities. They are generally saturated fats. Researchers have found that unsaturated fats have a good impact on our body metabolism and are useful in maintaining it. So the unsaturated fats are usually called good fats.
The purity of fats is an important thing to measure and is mandatory by many government regulations to mention it on the packaging of food materials. The best way to find the purity of saturated/unsaturated fats is iodine value. Iodine value or Iodine number as it is commonly known as is the amount of Iodine that can react with the fat of a common mass (100 grams). This denotes the degree of unsaturation of fats. The saturated fat takes up no Iodine so their Iodine value is said to be of value zero. But the unsaturated fats have double or triple bonds which are generally very reactive towards the iodine. With the increase in double or triple bonds in carbon, the reactivity with iodine increases and it consumes more Iodine in reaction and so has a higher iodine value.
For the method of the test, a known amount of Iodine in the form of iodine monochloride is left in a beaker of 100 grams of fats, oils, or wax. This starts the reaction between them and after the reaction is over the remaining amount of Iodine is found out by titration and so we can get the amount of Iodine that reacted with the fat and that becomes the iodine value of the fat.
In summary, the Iodine Value is the degree of unsaturation of fats, oils, and wax.