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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #223820

Title: Friction reducing properties and stability of epoxidized oleochemicals

item Doll, Kenneth - Ken
item Erhan, Sevim

Submitted to: Clean (Soil Air Water)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2008
Publication Date: 8/1/2008
Citation: Doll, K.M., Sharma, B.K., Erhan, S.Z. 2008. Friction reducing properties and stability of epoxidized oleochemicals. Clean. 36(8):700-705.

Interpretive Summary: Despite the large growth in the bio-based fuel market, it is important not to neglect the development of new industrial products, such as lubrication fluids and surfactants. This is especially important if the newer materials have a higher per gallon value than fuels. One drawback of soybean oil based lubricants is that they oxidize at a lower temperature than many petroleum based lubricants. We have chemically modified some vegetable oil based materials through an epoxidation reaction. The new materials are more stable towards oxidation, than the raw materials. We have also tested their ability to reduce friction, and found that it is also better than the raw material. This research benefits the vegetable oil industry by giving a new method where soybean oil can be turned into an industrial product with a potentially higher value, compared to the tumultuous fuel market.

Technical Abstract: We have studied the properties of epoxidized oleochemical methyl esters including epoxidized soybean oil, epoxidized methyl oleate, epoxidized methyl linoleate, and epoxidized methyl linolenate. We have compared these materials to a similar series of unmodified olefins. Several interesting trends were uncovered including: epoxidation of olefinic materials improves their oxidative stability, epoxidation of oleochemicals increases their adsorption to metal surfaces, epoxidation has a deleterious effect on a lubricant's pour point and viscosity index. We have also reported a simple qualitative trend where lubrication performance can be compared by examination of wear scars, generated by ball on disk friction measurement, under a simple optical microscope.