Reaction kinetics for the alcoholysis of soybean oil with methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol were evaluated in the absence of catalyst. Metal reactor surfaces catalyzed these reactions, so the reactions were conducted in glass capillary tubes at 120, 150, and 180C. The reactivity of the alcohols increased with decreasing carbon number. Higher temperatures promoted faster reactions. Higher alcohol stoichiometries did not significantly increase reaction rates; this was attributed to the limited solubility of the alcohol in the soybean oil. At less than 20% conversion, the solubility of the alcohol in the oil phase continuously increased, resulting in increased reaction rates. At approximately 20% conversion, the reaction systems became homogeneous until a glycerine phase was formed at high conversions. In addition to their fundamental value, these data provided a basis on which catalytic reactions can be investigated between 100 and 200C.
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