FUNCTIONALIZATION OF VEGETABLE OILS FOR USE IN THE POLYMER, OLEOCHEMICAL, AND LUBRICANT INDUSTRIES
Location: Bio-oils Research Unit
Title: Oligomerization of jojoba oil in super-critical carbon dioxide (green solvent) for different applications
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 16, 2011
Publication Date: December 16, 2011
Citation: Liu, Z., Shah, S.N. 2011. Oligomerization of jojoba oil in super-critical carbon dioxide (green solvent) for different applications [abstract]. National Seminar on Advances in Polymer Science and Nanotechnology: Design and Structure, December 16-17, 2011, at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat, India.
Vegetable oils are renewable, non-toxic, biodegradable, non-polluting, and relatively harmless to the environment. Approximately 80% of the global plant oil and fat production is from vegetable oil, whereas 20% is from animal origin (share decreasing). Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is a perennial shrub that is native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of Arizona, California, and western Mexico. Jojoba is also cultivated in certain hot, arid areas such as Israel, the Mediterranean, India, Africa, and South America. Unlike most other plants, the oil of jojoba seeds, which constitutes between 45-55%, by weight, of the seeds, is mainly composed of long chain monoesters of fatty acids and alcohols (97-98%, by weight) rather than triglycerides. These esters are commonly referred to as wax esters. Jojoba oil is also used as an alternative to sperm oil as a lubricant and as a plasticizer.
Recently, attention has been focused on the development of environmentally friendly green solvents to replace volatile organic solvents. One promising candidate is supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2). The low toxicity of CO2 and lack of toxic solvent residues in the final products makes CO2 an attractive medium for the synthesis and processing of polymers and biomaterials. In addition, CO2 is inexpensive, readily available, and nonflammable.
With this in view, we have investigated Jojoba oil in our present studies. In the current process, jojoba oil wax esters are reacted in the presence of catalytically effective amounts of an acid catalyst in supercritical CO2. We have revealed novel dimers of jojoba oil wax esters and a process for their preparation. In the reaction, the double bonds of the wax esters are opened and cross-linked to two wax esters as dimers. Interestingly, the dimerized jojoba oil produced is a solid at room temperature with a melting point of approximately the temperature of the human body. These properties are presently being explored by cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical industries for their dermatological properties.