Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hernandez, Rafael

Committee Member

Baldwin, Brian

Committee Member

Toghiani, Hossein

Committee Member

Zappi, Mark

Committee Member

French, Todd

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering


This paper studies castor oil’s potential as a biodiesel feedstock. Base-catalyzed transesterification batch reactions were conducted at various experimental conditions while measuring the concentration of the reaction components over time. A gas chromatograph with a flame-ionization detector analyzed these samples. A factorial design of experiments was used to determine how conversion was affected by reaction temperature, sodium methoxide concentration, and ratio of methanol to oil. Conversion was maximized (0.9964) at 30 °C, 0.5% catalyst, and 9:1 molar ratio. The concentration data were used to study the reaction kinetics. Modeling the reaction as three equilibria yielded six rate constants. These values indicate that castor oil transesterifies faster than soybean oil. The fuel properties were determined by ASTM D 6751. Viscosity was excessively high, but specifications were met for the remaining tests. Despite the promising yield and kinetics of the reaction, the fuel viscosity limits castor oil’s viability as a biodiesel feedstock.



gas chromatography||ASTM||ANOVA||kinetic modeling||alternative fuel||renewable fuel||B100||viscosity||GC-FID