Submitted to: Journal of Surfactants and Detergents
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/6/2006
Publication Date: 12/11/2006
Citation: Doll, K.M., Erhan, S.Z. 2006. Synthesis and performance of surfactants based on epoxidized methyl oleate and glycerol. Journal of Surfactants and Detergents. 9:377-383. Interpretive Summary: We have synthesized a small series of surface active materials (surfactants) from the readily available vegetable oil based materials, methyl oleate and glycerol. We have studied the ability of these materials to reduce the surface tension of water, and the ability of our compounds to stabilize water in oil emulsions. These are important properties for the development of detergents or emulsifiers. Currently used non-ionic surfactants are often made from petrochemically derived alcohols and the dangerous, and increasingly expensive, ethylene oxide. Our surfactants have similar properties, but are made from agricultural commodities. This research benefits the vegetable oil industry by helping to open markets for vegetable oil derived fatty materials and for the abundant glycerol, a byproduct of the biodiesel industry.
Technical Abstract: We have synthesized a small series of surfactants based on methyl oleate and glycerol. Our synthesis utilizes an epoxidation of the oleate followed by a simple esterification. The resultant products have between 2 and 7 glyceride units and their performance properties have been studied, including aqueous surface tensions, dynamic aqueous surface tensions. The droplet size of soybean oil/water emulsions made with each surfactant was also studied. The surfactants show properties similar to alcohol ethoxylates such as well the reduction of aqueous surface tension to approximately 34 mN m-1. Additionally, because our synthesis leaves the epoxide functionality in the surfactant, further modification to get to ideal performance is possible.