This thesis aimed at the production of biolubricant from vegetable oils. The first stage produced methyl ester of the oil and in the second stage; the methyl ester was transesterified with Trimethylolpropane (TMP) in a ratio of 3.5:1 at 1500C to produce the biolubricant. The pour points biolubricant and its blend were significantly improved when compared to that of raw oils.
The pour point for Jatropha oil improved from 6.5 to -8 to -13, Moringa oil from 6 to -8 to -15, Castor oil from 50C to -40C to -300C and Cotton seed oil from 4°C to -6°C to -16°C respectively.
Similarly, the viscosity index of Jatropha oil reduced from 220.70 to 216, Moringa oil from 224.70 to 197.75, Castor oil from 96.42 to 88.32, and Cotton seed oil from 213.12 to 198.57 respectively. As the temperature increased from 300C to 100 the viscosity reduces by 37.97, 53.46, 69.58 and 39.32 cSt. The GC-MS result shows that the oils contained more of unsaturated ricinoleic, and linoleic acid than saturated fatty acid of caproic, capric, palmitic and stearic acid. It was found that as the temperature increased from 300C to 100 the viscosity reduces by 37.97, 53.46, 69.58 and 39.32 cSt, which correspond to the slope of 0.633, 0.89, 1.16, 0.66 for Jatropha, Moringa, Castor and Cotton seed biolubricant respectively.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE RESEARCH
Vegetable oils are agricultural products derived from the seeds of many plants such as soybean, castor, neem, rubber, coconut, melon, jatropha, palm, olive oil trees e.t.c. Different plant seeds contain different volume of vegetable oil per kilogram of seeds‘ weight. Within the same plant seeds, the difference in species of seeds also gives rise to difference in the volume of vegetable oil per kilogram of that species.Vegetable oils contain triglyceride molecule. Other constituents of vegetable oils include; tocopherol, lignins, and vitamin E. Generally, all vegetable oils contain the same molecular morphology of triglyceride in terms of shape but different in fatty-acids composition and distribution within the triglyceride molecule. The end-use applications of vegetable oils in foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, polymer industries e.t.c. depend (among other factors) on the difference in fatty-acids composition and distribution within the triglyceride molecule. This is an optimization technique often referred as structure-property relationship (SPR) or quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR). Based on this technique, vegetable oils are classified as; edible and non-edible, drying, semi-drying and non-drying. Vegetable oils in their raw-form, may find direct end-use application, or may need refining or chemical modification for better end-use application, all depending on the physicochemical property of interest and engineering design. Chemical modification such as epoxidation can serve as a precursor route for synthesis of bio-based industrial chemicals such as glycols, lubricants, plasticizers, stabilizers e.t.c,(Taydeet al 2012).
Vegetable oils have several properties that are required in a lubricant, such as a high viscosity index, high lubricity, low volatility, and advanced properties that can be compared to mineral oil, including low toxicity and high biodegradability (Willing, 2001 ). In general, vegetable oils consist of triglycerides, which are glycerol molecules with three long-chain fatty acids attached at the hydroxyl group via ester linkages. The fatty acids found in natural vegetable oils differ in chain length and number of double bonds. The fatty acid composition is determined by the ratio and position of carbon-carbon double bonds. The long-chain carbon is generally held together with one, two, or three double bonds: oleic, linoleic, and linolenic fatty acid components, respectively. Most plant-based oils contain at least four, and sometimes as many as twelve different fatty acids. Triglyceride structure gives good qualities for boundary lubrication. Their long and polar fatty acid chains can provide high strength lubricant films that interact strongly with metallic surfaces (Gerulova et al., 2010). The strong intermolecular interactions are also resistant to changes in temperature, providing a more stable viscosity, or high viscosity coefficient. These strong intermolecular interactions provide a durable lubricant film. The fluid also remains biodegradable, with low toxicity at all stages of its life.
Lubricant formulations are being developed based on the benefits and limitations of vegetable oils. Without additives, vegetable oils out-performed mineral based oils in anti-wear and friction, scuffing load capacity, and fatigue resistance (Kalpakjian, 1986). This is because vegetable oil produces a low friction coefficient, equivalent scuffing load capacity, and better pitting resistance, although it shows poorer thermal and oxidative stability. Vegetable oil also becomes less effective under extreme loads. This indicates that vegetable oils are particularly effective as boundary lubricants, as the high polarity of the entire base oil allows strong interactions with lubricated surfaces (Szeri, 1980).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Until the 19th century, lubricants have been manufactured mainly using (even exclusively) vegetable oils and animal fats (Stefanescu et al., 2002). When the internal combustion engines appeared, these “classical” lubricants were gradually replaced by mineral oils. The main cause of this change is stability in time both for stocking and functioning (Stefanescu et al., 2002). The development of lubricant based on mineral oils as a base fluid is related to the good technical properties and the reasonable price of mineral oils (Willing, 2001).
Use of mineral oils as lubricants itself presents certain challenges, one of which is its poor biodegradability and thus its potential for long term pollution of the environment (Willing, 2001). Another important factor as reported by Willing (2001) is the fact that petroleum resources are limited, hence the need for the development of alternative source of lubricating oils for industrial applications.
It is known from the early development of lubricant for special applications, that fatty acid polyesters have comparable or even better technical properties than mineral oils, and that the fatty acids are almost exclusively based on renewable resources (Willing, 2001). Also, the use of rapidly biodegradable lubricants could significantly reduce environmental pollution (Gerulova et al., 2010). Accordingly, the research in the last 20 years for manufacturing new products being neutral concerning their influence on the environment makes the vegetable oils attractive again for lubricating purpose (Stefanescu et al., 2002).
Prior to recent developments, vegetable and animal oils in tribology have functioned mainly as additives to mineral lubricating oil formulations, although in some cases they are applied exclusively, or in blends (Aluyor et al., 2009). Vegetable oils offer a wide range of advantages which includes biodegradability, renewability (Gawrillow, 2003), low toxicity (Stefanescu et al., 2002), good lubricity, high viscosity and high viscosity index (Leugner, 2003).
In essence, Lubricants derived from petroleum base are widely used in almost all applications. However its non-biodegradable properties have made a serious problem in terms of environmental pollution. This aroused the need to develop lubricants from non-fossil sources. Low-temperature studies have shown that most vegetable oils undergo cloudiness, poor flow, and solidification at cold temperatures.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to undertake a comparative analysis of alternative methods of processing and production of lubricant oil. The specific objectives of this research are:
- To produce the biolubricants.
- To determine the physico-chemical properties of the synthesized biolubricant and compare with ISO VG requirement.
- To investigate the effect of temperature on viscosity of the synthesized biolubricant blend with mineral base oil.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH
The need for Nigeria as a developing nation to put her vast material resources (agricultural materials inclusive) to good economic use cannot be overemphasized. Much research work has been done on vegetable oils since they offer outstanding tribological properties which, among others, can be seen from their very good viscosity – temperature behaviour. Apart from this, they are better lubricants than mineral oils. Biodegradability and high cleanliness at the working place with higher wetting tendency of polar esters which lead to friction reduction and This could open up production income alternative in the agriculture industry.
Furthermore, many researches have been carried out on alternative lubricants using renewable and less toxic vegetable oils such as rapeseed, coconut, palm oils e.t.c. This research work has established the effectiveness of vegetable oils as good boundary lubricants; hence they are useful in the reduction of friction under boundary lubrication condition.
1.5 ORGANIZATION OF STUDY
The study is grouped into five chapters. This chapter being the first gives an introduction to the study. Chapter two gives a review of the related literature. Chapter three presents the Materials, equipment and general experimental procedures; chapter four presents the data analysis as well as interpretation and discussion of the results. Chapter five gives a summary of findings and recommendations.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH
The scope of this research work covered collection of materials, production of biolubricants, physic-chemical determination and chemical modification in order to enhance their suitability for
ISO viscosity grades requirement.
- Esterification reaction
- Methyl ester and polyol ester synthesis
- Characterization of the raw oils, synthesized biolubricant and trimethylolpropane
- Effect of temperature on viscosity
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