PRODUCTION OF ALKALI USING LOCAL RAW MATERIAL. A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPICS ON CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
The project aims to develop a flow process to obtain the optimum temperature and time necessary for the maximum recovery of alkali present in palm inflorescence.
On this ground, a preliminary experiment was performed. During this process, both male and female palm inflorescence were compared for maximum alkali production and it was observed that the female palm inflorescence produced highest quantity of alkali than the male palm inflorescence. Based on this, the female palm inflorescence was used in performing the experiment.
Also, experiments were carried out to determine the optimum temperature and time for maximum alkali recovery. After the analysis and analytical calculations it was found that the optimum temperature for maximum alkali production is 4500c and the corresponding time for the production is 90 minutes.
Over the years, alkali has been of prime importance as raw material both for industrial and laboratory purpose. Alkali as a word was derived from an erabic word, which mean ashes. Ashes could be wood ashes, Ngu ashes or any other type of ash sourced by burning a given material. Alkali is said to be the basic hydroxide, which is soluble in water.
The compounds of alkali metals are so soluble that they tend to be leached out of the soil by rainwater end hence carried by streams and rivers to the sea. Based on this, sea water contain about three percent (3%) by weight of alkali salts.
Alkalis are produced both industrially end locally. The local production is mainly by the use of palm inflorescence or plantain peels. It involved burning of the palm inflorescence and subsequently leaching out of the alkali with water. When the produced alkali is sourced, potassium hydroxide is much in quantity then sodium hydroxide. About 45% of alkali is obtained using the female palm inflorescence of the oil palm tree.
The quality of the leachate obtained depends on the following.
i. Ashing condition
ii. Solvent used
iii. The type of plant ash used
iv. Method of leaching
One of the major raw materials for soap production is alkali. The alkali may be a hydroxide, a carbonate of hydrogen carbonate. The cations most commonly used are those of sodium and potassium. At the time of saponification, they denote metal ions, which form soap with fatty acid. Hence
H2 C – C OR1
H C – C – OR11 + 3xY 3RC00x + CH2 Y
H2 C – C – OR111 CH2 Y
Where x is a metal ion
Many of the alkali has gained wide application some of them are sodium hydroxide (Na0H), sodium carbonate (Na0 C03), potassium hydroxide (KOH), sodium hydrogen carbonate and potassium hydrogen carbonate (KHC03).