Synthesis of Polyol from Sponge Gourd (Luffa aegyptiaca) Seed Oil and Production of Polyurethane Foam
The use of modified plant oils as a renewable feedstock in the chemical industry has become more desirable as we move towards a carbon-free society. In particular, epoxidized fatty acid derivatives derived from vegetable sources may be utilized as stabilizers and plasticisers in polymer, as lubricant additives and as constituents of polyurethane foams. Luffa aegyptiaca oil is a potentially abundant and inexpensive raw material for such products. The synthesis of a polyol product from Luffa aegyptiaca involves two key reaction steps, namely: epoxidation followed by hydroxylation. This study considers the optimization of the reaction conditions for the second step where epoxidized Luffa aegyptiaca seed oil is converted into a polyol. The hydroxylation reaction was performed in a batch reactor using a mixture of alcohols (methanol and isopropanol) with sulphuric acid as a catalyst. The conversion reaction of epoxidized Luffa aegyptiaca seed oil to product polyol is reaction time and temperature dependent. Optimal condition (maximum polyol yield) was achieved with a reaction time of 3h at a temperature of 50℃.