Location: Plant Polymer Research
Title: Direct polymerization of vernonia oil through cationic means Authors
Submitted to: Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 23, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: There has been a constant demand for environmentally friendly lubricants. The interest intensified during the last decade due to strict government and environmental regulations. Most of the current lubricants originate from petroleum stock, which is toxic to environment and difficult to dispose of. Certain vegetable oils are considered to be potential candidates to substitute conventional mineral oil-based lubricating oils. Vegetable oils are preferred to synthetic fluids because they are renewable resources and potentially cheaper. We have developed a novel catalyst to convert bio-oils at room temperature into potentially useful lubricants. Vernonia oil is available commercially and seems to be a useful raw material for the development of new biobased lubricants. Depending on the polymerization conditions, different viscosities have been achieved to produce a family of possible lubricants. These new polymers may be used as caulks, lubricants and as ingredients in coatings, cosmetics, biodiesel fuel. These may also be used as a possible additive in lubricant formulations in order to increase their viscosities, or as a thickener in various commercial formulations that involve mineral or vegetable oils. This discovery will benefit farms that grow crops that contain significant amounts of oil and those companies involved with oilseed processing.
Technical Abstract: Vernonia oil is obtained by extraction from Vernonia galamensis seeds. It is a triglyceride containing 70-80% vernolic acid (12,13-epoxy-9-decenoic acid). With approximately three epoxy groups per molecule, vernonia oil is a good raw material for new product development and many derivatives have been reported. In this work we report for the first time direct polymerization of vernonia oil through cationic means. The reaction entailed the use of fluorosulfonic acid as a catalyst and 25-35°C. Depending on the level of acid catalyst used, the products can range from a viscous oil to a completely crosslinked resin. The NMR spectra of these materials are completely characterized. The polymer may perhaps find applications as a thickener in lubricants and oil-based commercial formulations.