An Experiment on the Synthesis and Characterization of Biodiesel Fuel

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Introduction In this experiment, the focus will be the synthesis and characterization of biodiesel fuel. Biodiesel seems to have become the substitute for fossil fuel. It can also be an alternative for the petroleum-based biodiesel. By having renewable resources such as corn, soybeans, peanuts and other makes biodiesel a viable option. Using these resources wouldn’t help alleviate the problems with fossil fuel in the US. Biodiesel is produced from the transesterification reaction of vegetable oil. Transesterification is the reversible reaction where one ester is converted into another by exchanging an ester group with an alcohol in the presence of a base.
According to the Laboratory Manual, there are multiple steps. We will need 50mL vegetable oil, 10mL methanol, 0.5mL 9M NaOH, diesel fuel, salt and ice. For preparation of Biodiesel, various types of oil were available for synthesizing biodiesel. Measure 50mL of biodiesel into a 250mL beaker. Second, add a clean magnetic stir bar to the oil and the place the beaker on a stirring hotplate. Adjust the stirring rate so that the solution is being well mixed without splashing and turn heat on low. Third, while the mixture is heating prepare a solution of methanol and sodium hydroxide. Measure 10mL of methanol into a small beaker. Add 0.5mL of 9M NaOH to the methanol. Fourth, heat the mixture to 50C. As soon as the oil reaches 50C, turn off heat, but continue stirring. Fifth, slowly pour the methanol/NaOH mixture
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