Apart from establishing a discrete link between theoretical and practical concepts, this experiment also aims at promoting individual participation in group work. In addition, strict adherence to all synthesis steps helps students in learning about procedural execution of laboratory processes.In order to optimize the synthesis process and ensure production of quality biodiesel, this experiment will be conducted in a strategic and procedural manner. The first strategy involves establishing harmony between materials and equipment available with the identified method of synthesis. Based on theoretical concepts, there are numerous transesterification methods used in synthesis of biodiesel. However, these methods differ in terms of product quality and percentage yield. Inasmuch as the proposal describes an experimental design of synthesizing biodiesel, all strategic measures will have to be integrated in the planning stage in order to ensure production of quality fuel that meets the requisite physical and chemical properties. With respect to materials present, this experiment adopts the base-catalyzed process in synthesis of the fuel.Procedures involved in production starts with mixing and heating the vegetable oils to approximately 60oC, followed by adding a suitable solvent like ethanol to ensure uniform distribution of functional groups within the mixture (Tuohy and Saddler 31). This is succeeded by adding either sodium or potassium hydroxide and methanol into the mixture, followed by refluxing the fluid within a reaction vessel for about 3 hours at 60-70oC. Eventually, the final product will be poured out from the vessel, separated and purified. During the testing process, physical properties of viscosity and enthalpy of combustion will be analyzed using gravimetric and ignition techniques respectively. On the other hand, the fuel’s chemical aspects of pH and emissions will be checked using universal indicator scales and emission spectrometer set-up respectively.Procedures and synthesis method adopted in the preceding section are based on both the physical and chemical properties of materials and products within the synthesis line. First, acid-catalyzed transesterification is slower compared to base-catalyzed process. Acid catalyzed process requires approximately 21 hours of refluxing the mixture (Tuohy and Saddler 47). However, base-catalyzed synthesis optimizes reflux time and improves percentage yield. In terms of physical properties, biodiesel
Work CitedTuohy, Maria and Saddler, Jack. Bioenergy Research: Advances and Applications. New York: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
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