EFFECTS OF TRANSESTERIFICATION CONDITIONS ON SYNTHESIS OF TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE ESTERS

 Trimethylolpropane (TMP) esters can be synthesized via catalytic transesterification of TMP with fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) in the base catalyst. This work investigated the catalytic performance of hetero- geneous base catalysts, such as Ca(OH)2 and CaO in the transesterification of TMP with mixed C8-C10 FAME. The effects of the main operating variables, including temperature, molar ratio of FAME:TMP, and catalyst amount, on the FAME conversion and the product of TMP esters were investigated. The reaction products were analyzed to determine the distribution of TMP esters by gas chromatography (GC). The results showed that the heterogeneous catalysts produced no soap and were separated easily from the reaction products. An increase in the temperature and the molar ratio of FAME:TMP promoted the transesterification, while the catalyst amount had much smaller effect. The highest conversion of FAME (> 70 %) and the distribution of TMP triesters 97 % were achieved from the transesteri- fication over Ca(OH)2 at the molar ratio of FAME:TMP of 9:1, catalyst amount of 1 wt.%, temperature of 170 C and reaction time of 8 h.