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Keywords:

  • Branched-chain fatty acid;
  • Isostearic acid;
  • Lubricant;
  • Viscosity index;
  • Zeolite

Abstract

Saturated branched-chain fatty acids (sbc-FAs) are found as minor constituents in several natural fats and oils. Sbc-FAs are of interest since they have lower melting points than their linear counterparts and exhibit good oxidative stability; properties that make them ideally suited in a number of applications. We (and others) have previously synthesized sbc-FAs by clay- or zeolite-catalyzed isomerization of unsaturated linear-chain fatty acids (ulc-FAs) to unsaturated branched-chain fatty acids (ubc-FAs) that were subsequently hydrogenated to the desired sbc-FAs. These acid-catalyzed isomerization reactions, however, proceed in moderate conversion and selectivity. Recently, our group found that H-Ferrierite zeolite catalyst isomerized ulc-FAs to their branched-chain counterparts in high conversion (>95%) and selectivity (85%). This paper reports the use of this type of catalyst for the preparation of a series of sbc-FAs and their ester derivatives. Selected physical properties of these branched acids and esters such as cloud point (CP) and pour point (PP), cold filter plugging point (CFPP), viscosity index (VI), thermo-oxidation stability, iodine value, and lubricity are also reported.