Characterization of palm olein (oil) as base oil for biolubricant production

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This research work is on the determination of the properties of palm oil as potential base oil for producing bio based lubricants. The samples analysed were obtained from the open markets in the South West, South East and South South zones of Nigeria. Some of the physical and chemical properties such as viscosity, flash point, pour point, cloud point, specific gravity, acid number, noack volatility and aniline point were analysed. The samples were degummed, neutralised and bleached to remove the red colour (carotene) and gummy materials. The bleached samples were tested to determine the above mentioned properties. Comparison of the crude palm oil and the bleached samples with the conventional lubricants Mobil Super SAE20W40 and Mobil gear oil SAE75W90 was made. Finally, it was observed that the crude palm oil and the bleached sample exhibit good lubricating characteristics to be used as base oils for formulation of bio-lubricants. Despite palm oil being a food crop, an abundance of available land and the scale of prospective market demand suggest that commercial cultivation is unlikely to negatively affect food cultivation and the prices of food products.