Author: Dibia Kelvin Ugochukwu Nnaemeka
Department: Chemical Engineering
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The aim of this work was to optimize the adsorptive bleaching of palm oil using aluminosilicate. The adsorbent used was activated Ukpor aluminosilicate clay. Activation parameters such as activation temperature, duration of activation and strength at clay to acid ratio of 1:10 (wt%) were applied to produce an adsorbent with maximum bleaching efficiency by optimization using the Box-Behnken method of DOE. Optimization results were: 85℃ of activation temperature, 30mins of duration of activation, and 4M of strength of acid. Adsorbent for bleaching was produced using the optimized results. Some physical properties of clay such as surface area, pH, moisture content and oil retention capacity were determined. Both activated and non-activated clays were characterized using the Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) Spectroscopy to determine their functional groups; Atomic Adsorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) to determine the elements that make up the clay; X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) to know the oxides compositions of the clay; X-ray Diffraction (XRD) to note the mineralogical composition of the clay; and Scanning Election Microscopy (SEM) to examine the surface morphology of the clay. The produced activated clay (adsorbent) was used to carry out the adsorptive bleaching of palm oil. The adsorptive bleaching process of palm oil was optimized using the Box-Behnken method of DOE. 97.85% adsorptive efficiency of UkAS was obtained for optimum adsorptive bleaching process of palm oils. Bleaching efficiencies were increased during bleaching process of palm oil as compared with the process of producing clay with maximum bleaching efficiency. Optimization results from response surface plots gave a bleaching temperature of 90℃, bleaching time of 60mins, and adsorbent dosage of 4g. Both CPO and DNBPO had their qualities checked. All data were analyzed statistically using Design Expert Trial Version Environment. Kinetic models for the bleaching process were studied as the Bhattacharyya-Venkobachor model best fitted the bleaching process. For Thermodynamics study, the Gibbs free energy and change in enthalpy were positive indicating a nonspontaneous and endothermic process respectively. The change in entropy was negative, indicating the presence of impurities before adsorptive bleaching. In this work, design consideration of the bleacher was discussed.

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