Phase Stability of a Triglyceride/Alcohol/Catalytic-Surfactant System in Transesterification

Authors

  • Gayan I. Nawaratna,

    1. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, 321 Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 (USA)
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  • William L. Rooney Jr.,

    1. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, 321 Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 (USA)
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  • Christina Leonhardt,

    1. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, 321 Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 (USA)
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  • Prof. Sandun D. Fernando

    Corresponding author
    1. Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, 321 Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 (USA)
    • Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, 321 Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 (USA)
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Abstract

Ternary phase diagrams were developed to discern the phase stability of triglyceride (soybean oil)/alcohol/catalytic-surfactant (metal alkoxide with an analogous alkyl group to alcohol) system. The objective was to elucidate the effect of the catalytic surfactant on making the alcohol/oil immiscible phases miscible in each other and in turn how this phase stabilization translates into transesterification catalysis. The effects of 1) degree of titanium alkoxide polymerization and 2) hydrocarbon tail length and chirality on the phase stability of the alcohol/oil system were studied. It was observed that higher levels of titanium alkoxide polymerization reduced the ability of these alkoxides to emulsify oil/alcohol emulsions while longer chain lengths increased their emulsification ability. An interesting observation was that at high enough concentrations of titanium alkoxide that brought the system to a stable single phase, the transesterification reaction occurred autonomously at room temperature.

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