Synthesis of palm-based ethylhexyl ester as a synthetic base oil for drilling fluids using chemical transesterification
Keywords:Ethylhexyl ester, Gas chromatography, Optimization, Reaction parameters
In the present study the synthesis of a palm based ethylhexyl ester was examined through a transesterification reaction of palm oil methyl ester (POME) with 2-ethylhexanol (EH). A sodium methoxide in methanol solution was used as a catalyst. The reaction was carried out at a fixed pressure of 1.5 mbar by varying the temperature (80–140 °C), POME/2EH molar ratio (1:1.5–1:2.2), reaction time (0.5–4 h) and catalyst concentration (1–2% w/w). The reaction with 2-ethylhexanol involved a single step reversible reaction, thus, the reaction was completed in a very short time. The optimum conditions were obtained in less than 30 minutes with 1.5 mbar pressure, 70 °C, and 1:2 molar ratio of POME to 2EH. The analysis of the final product (ethylhexyl ester) was performed using gas chromatography which exhibited 98% of ethyl hexyl ester yield. The gas chromatography analysis of ethyl hexyl ester revealed two major esters peaks i.e. ethyl hexyl palmitate and ethylhexyl oleate.
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