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Comparative Assessment Of Lubricant Produce From Palm Kernel Oil And Tonimas Lubricating Oil

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This study produced bio-lubricant with palm kernel oil and compared its quality with Tonimas Oil ( A commercial lubricating oil in the market). Palm kernel oil based lubricant was produced by dissolving 12.5ml of Zinc Dialkyl Dithiophosphate and  47.5ml of Ethylene propylene into 400ml of PKO and stiring them together to achieve a homogeneous mixture. The quality of the lubricant produced was compared with Tonimas oil using the following parameter; kinematic viscosity at 40oc and 100oc, specific gravity at 15oc and flash point. Result of the tests carried out showed that the PKO based oil has KV at 100oc and 40 oc of 11.6cst and 128.00cst respectively, Specific Gravity at 15 oc of 0.8817 and flash point of 242 oc while Tonimas Oil has KV at 100 oc and 40oc of 12.06cst and 131.00cst respectively, Specific Gravity at 15 oc of 0.8985 and flash point of 262 oc. Comparison with Tonimas Oil showed that Tonimas Oil has better properties, However the tested quality parameters of the PKO based oil lie within the acceptable standard for lubricating oils by ISO.












1.1     Background of the Study

Fossil fuels are formed by natural process such as Anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossils is typically millions of years and sometimes exceeds 650 million years (Tulsa and Tan, 2009)

        Fossil fuels are non-renewable resource because they take millions of years to form and reserves are being depleted much faster than are being made. Fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, natural gas and synthetic gas, which have been used to meet the energy needs of man, are associated with negative environmental impacts such as global warming (Munack, Schroder, Karh And Bunger 2001).

        Besides, supply of this non-renewable energy resources is threatening to run out in a foreseeable future. More so, the use of fossil fuels contributes in the emission of green house gas, combustion of fossils also produce air pollutants such as Nitrogen oxides. Before now fossil fuel has been a raw material for producing lubricants and material like petroleum, diesel and graphite. Having seen all the negative environmental impact of fossil fuels, search for renewable energy resource and sources for energy and other application, like lubricants continuous to attract attention.

        Lubricant is a substance capable of reducing friction by making surfaces smooth or slippery. Renewable energy resources like vegetable oils have been used to produce lubricants which are known as bio-lubricants. Bio-lubricants are prepared because they are biodegradable, non-toxic cheaper and have renewable resources unlike conventional mineral-base oils (Bandles and Bjorklund, 1992).

        Bio-lubricants formulated from plants oils have the following advantages derived from the chemistry of the bases stock;

Higher lubricity leading to lower friction losses.

Lower volatility resulting in decreased exhaust emissions.

Higher viscosity index

Vegetable oil as a bio-lubricant has very low volatility due to the higher molecular weight of the triglyceride molecule. They have different unique properties compared to mineral oils, due to their unique chemical structure. Vegetable oils have a greater ability to lubricate and higher viscosity index. Superior anticorrosive properties are observed in vegetable oil and are induced by greater affinity for metal surface. High flash point over 300oc classify vegetable oils as non-flammable liquids.

        However, the applicability of vegetable oils in lubrication is partly limited as this oil tends to show low oxidative stability and higher melting points. Production of vegetable oils is an attractive way of solving these problems (Meier, Mertzger and Schubert 2007) vegetable oil include groundnut oil, palm kernel oil, castor oil, palm oil, coconut oil etc.

        Palm kernel oil (one of the vegetable oils) is an edible plant oil, from kernel seed (Elaesis guineensis), (Kwasi, Stein and Bunger, 2003).

        Bio-lubricant are biodegradable, renewable, have higher viscosity and greater affinity for metal surface thereby lubricating the surface better. Palm kernel oil is composed of fatty acids esterified with glycerol just like any ordinary fat, it is high in saturated about 80% (Faessler, Peter and Less 2007).

1.2     Statement of the Research Problem

At present the base oil for most lubricating sold in the market are obtained from petroleum which takes millions of years to form despite the fact that it is continuously being explored. This non renewable form of the major raw material for the production of lubricating oil necessitates research for renewable alternatives. Again lubricating oil from petroleum is not biodegradable and renders farmlands useless as it militates against the growth of growth of weeds and grasses let alone farm crops. This research is therefore geared towards producing a lubricant from a renewable source which will be more environmentally friendly and at the same time have acceptable quality.

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