Science Laboratory Technology




This study produced bio-lubricant with palm kernel oil and compared its quality with Tonimas Oil ( A commercial lubricating oil in the market). Palm kernel oil based lubricant was produced by dissolving 12.5ml of Zinc Dialkyl Dithiophosphate and 47.5ml of Ethylene propylene into 400ml of PKO and stiring them together to achieve a homogeneous mixture. The quality of the lubricant produced was compared with Tonimas oil using the following parameter; kinematic viscosity at 40oc and 100oc, specific gravity at 15oc and flash point. Result of the tests carried out showed that the PKO based oil has KV at 100oc and 40 oc of 11.6cst and 128.00cst respectively, Specific Gravity at 15 oc of 0.8817 and flash point of 242 oc while Tonimas Oil has KV at 100 oc and 40oc of 12.06cst and 131.00cst respectively, Specific Gravity at 15 oc of 0.8985 and flash point of 262 oc. Comparison with Tonimas Oil showed that Tonimas Oil has better properties, However the tested quality parameters of the PKO based oil lie within the acceptable standard for lubricating oils by ISO.


    • Background of the Study

Fossil fuels are formed by natural process such as Anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossils is typically millions of years and sometimes exceeds 650 million years (Tulsa and Tan, 2009)

Fossil fuels are non-renewable resource because they take millions of years to form and reserves are being depleted much faster than are being made. Fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, natural gas and synthetic gas, which have been used to meet the energy needs of man, are associated with negative environmental impacts such as global warming (Munack, Schroder, Karh And Bunger 2001).

Besides, supply of this non-renewable energy resources is threatening to run out in a foreseeable future. More so, the use of fossil fuels contributes in the emission of green house gas, combustion of fossils also produce air pollutants such as Nitrogen oxides. Before now fossil fuel has been a raw material for producing lubricants and material like petroleum, diesel and graphite. Having seen all the negative environmental impact of fossil fuels, search for renewable energy resource and sources for energy and other application, like lubricants continuous to attract attention.

Lubricant is a substance capable of reducing friction by making surfaces smooth or slippery. Renewable energy resources like vegetable oils have been used to produce lubricants which are known as bio-lubricants. Bio-lubricants are prepared because they are biodegradable, non-toxic cheaper and have renewable resources unlike conventional mineral-base oils (Bandles and Bjorklund, 1992).

Bio-lubricants formulated from plants oils have the following advantages derived from the chemistry of the bases stock;

Higher lubricity leading to lower friction losses.

Lower volatility resulting in decreased exhaust emissions.

Higher viscosity index

Vegetable oil as a bio-lubricant has very low volatility due to the higher molecular weight of the triglyceride molecule. They have different unique properties compared to mineral oils, due to their unique chemical structure. Vegetable oils have a greater ability to lubricate and higher viscosity index. Superior anticorrosive properties are observed in vegetable oil and are induced by greater affinity for metal surface. High flash point over 300oc classify vegetable oils as non-flammable liquids.

However, the applicability of vegetable oils in lubrication is partly limited as this oil tends to show low oxidative stability and higher melting points. Production of vegetable oils is an attractive way of solving these problems (Meier, Mertzger and Schubert 2007) vegetable oil include groundnut oil, palm kernel oil, castor oil, palm oil, coconut oil etc.

Palm kernel oil (one of the vegetable oils) is an edible plant oil, from kernel seed (Elaesis guineensis), (Kwasi, Stein and Bunger, 2003).

Bio-lubricant are biodegradable, renewable, have higher viscosity and greater affinity for metal surface thereby lubricating the surface better. Palm kernel oil is composed of fatty acids esterified with glycerol just like any ordinary fat, it is high in saturated about 80% (Faessler, Peter and Less 2007).

  • Statement of the Research Problem

At present the base oil for most lubricating sold in the market are obtained from petroleum which takes millions of years to form despite the fact that it is continuously being explored. This non renewable form of the major raw material for the production of lubricating oil necessitates research for renewable alternatives. Again lubricating oil from petroleum is not biodegradable and renders farmlands useless as it militates against the growth of growth of weeds and grasses let alone farm crops. This research is therefore geared towards producing a lubricant from a renewable source which will be more environmentally friendly and at the same time have acceptable quality.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The aim of this study is as follows;

  1. To produce lubricant from palm kernel oil.
  2. To determine the quality parameters of the lubricant namely; flash point, viscosity at 40oc and 100oc and specific gravity
  • To compare the quality of the lubricant produced with that of a commercial lubricant (TONIMAS Lubricant)

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study will be beneficial in the following ways;

  1. The drivers will benefit from this work, in the sense that it will help to prolong the life span of the their vehicles.
  2. This work will be beneficial to the general public as it produced a bio-degradable and environmental friendly lubricant.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study is limited to the following

  1. Production of lubricant from palm kernel oil
  2. Comparative analysis of palm kernel lubricant and Tonimas lubricant.
  • Carryout full analysis of Palm kernel oil, viscosity, flash point and specific gravity.




2.1 Bio-lubricants and the Environment

Bio-lubricants are lubricants that are manufactured from natural raw materials such as those harvested from farms forest, rivers, lakes and oceans. The term bio-lubricant applies to all lubricants that are both readily biodegradable and non-toxic to human and aquatic environment. A substance is called biodegradable when it can be composed within one year through natural biological processes in carbonaceous land, water and carbon dioxide (Whitby, 2005).

The better ways to protect the ecosystem or to reduced the negative impacts of spills or leakage lubricants must be out used and between 13% and 3.2% of all used lubricants return to the environment with altered physical proteins and appearance (Legrand and Durr, 1998).

In addition, leaked lubricants and those remaining in futers or containers have to be taken into account. The environment in Germany is exposed to about 150,000 tons annually (Wagner, 2001)

2.2  Sources of Oil

There are two major sources of oil namely plant and animals this can be called vegetable and animals oil (Shama, 2006).

Vegetable oils are obtained from the seeds of plant, examples include coconut oil from coconut, groundnut oils from groundnut seeds and palm kernel oil from palm kernel seeds. Animal oil is obtained from animals origin example fish oil.

2.3  Oil Formation in Seeds

Oil is one of the essential constituents of all forms of plants and animal life. Every species of plants and animals produce some quantity and quality of oil during their life cycle. However, only relatively few plants and animal produce fat and oil in sufficient quantity. Oil is any greasy substance that in their pure state is normally tasteless and odorless.

Sheely (1995) defined oil as any greasy substance that is liquid at room temperature and that will not dissolve in water. Oil is a class of energy rich organic compound of plants and animal origin, which are basic components of animal deeds fatty oil obtained from seed of plants are called vegetable oil while those obtained from animal origin and called animals oil (Shama, 2006) oil is formed in living cells of both plants and animals and is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen oils appear as a result of carbohydrates breakdown into glucose and fructose under the actions of some enzymes (such as aldolase) during the anaerobic passing through several completed reaction. The process is called esterification (Echrader and Ericksen, 2006).

Alcohol + Fatty acid esterification       Oil + H2O


It is unsaturated but when it contain no double bound,

It is saturated (Deman, 1994).

2.4  Types of Oils

Depending on the nature of carbon chain, vegetable oil can be classified as non-drying, semi-drying oils (Shama, 2006) 

Drying Oils

They are those that can absorb, oxygen rapidly on exposure to air to form thin elastic film. They react in this way because they contain large proportion of unsaturated fatty acid like linolenic acid with three double bonds in its molecules. The rates at which an oil dries in air depends in its ability to absorb iodine.

This is referred to its iodine value. Drying oil have higher. Iodine value or number greater than 130. Example include not seed oil, soybeans oil etc. They are used in the production of paint (Shama, 2006).

Semi-Drying Oils

This forms a soft surface film after along exposure to air. They contain a large proportion of linoleic acid. The iodine values of semi-drying oil range from 100 to 130. They are used as cooking oil Example include rapeseed, maize and soybeans (Shama, 2006).

Non-Drying Oil

This is oil that remains liquid and do not form film on exposure to air. This implies that it reacts slowly or not at all with oxygen and so have 100 or less than 100 is iodine value. Example includes olive and castor oil. This oil is mainly used as edible oil salad preparation, soap making and for lubricant purpose (Shama, 2006).

2.5  General Description of Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil is edible plant oil derived from the seed of kernel oil (Elastic Guineensis) It is collective term for more or less viscous, A distinction may be drawn between fatty, essential, mineral and silicone oils, Fatty oils include liquid, semisolid and solid product of vegetable and animal origin. They are also known as sweet oils.

Palm kernel oil, high quality oil, is of vegetable origin and is obtained from skinned palm kernel seeds by cold pressing, palm kernel oil may be odorless or nutty odor. It’s light yellow in colour and is one of the most important vegetable oils. Palm kernel oil should have an acid value of at most 3.5-40% while the flask point is about 242-262oc and specific gravity in mls/cst is 0.886-0.899 respectively (Chow and Ching, 2007).

Classification of Palm kernel seeds

Kingdom: Plantae

Unranked: Angiosperms

Unranked: Eudicols

Unranked: Rosids

Order: fabales

Family: Fabaceal

Subfamily: faboideac

Tribe: Aeschynomeneac

Genus: Arachis

Species: Hypogaca (Demen, 1994)

2.6  Palm Kernel Seed Oil Productions

Palm kernel oil also known as peanut oil is derived from peanut and can be heated to high temperature without smoking, which make it suitable for deep frying and stir frying.

It is often used in salad dressing, marinades and baked goods. The oil also has a longer shelf life because it contains smaller amount polyunsaturated fatty acid that are prone to oxidation (Mathaus, 2007).

2.7  Uses of Palm Kernel Oil

Medicinal Uses

Palm kernel oil is often used in Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian Cuisine, both for general cooking and in the case of roasted oil, for added flour, palm kernel oil has a high smoke point relative to many other cooking oil, so is commonly used for frying foods.

Palm kernel oil as a medicinal ointment could be useful in the following ways;

  1. Cure of Headache
  2. Treatment f stomach upset
  • Treatment of wounds
  1. Cure of convulsion
  2. Treatment of fever.

Palm kernel oil, as with other vegetable oils, can be used to make soap by the process of saponification. This is safe for the use as a massage oil. Noted palm kernel oil researcher (Wagner, 2001).

Food and Bakery

Palm kernel oil is known to confer special attractive physical feature and aroma to bated bread. It is also used for making other baked products like cake and biscuit. Palm kernel oil is semi-solid at room temperature; hence it is suitable for making margarine, chocolate and some other related food products. Palm kernel oil is further used at home for frying and cooking different types of food like plantain chips, potatoes, stew, fried Akara, Moi-moi e.t.c

Industrial Material

So many industrially produced common household materials are made with palm kernel etc. Some of the products includes: Candles, Glue, printing ink, grease and rub washing powder, pharmaceutical product and rubber.


Palm kernel oil major ingredient for large scale production of various types of soap detergent, hair creams, body creams and all sorts of body cream and pomade.

2.8  General Addictive used in Lubricant

They are referred to as the enhancing agents that are added during the manufacture of lubricants. The improvement produced by these agent are outstanding relations to their proportion, These are destructive process that go on in the internal combustion engine. when subjected to adverse temperature, chemical and physical stress which deteriorates the life of the lubricants, but with help of the adductive. The deteriorating effects of these destructive processes are being reduced or even eliminated.

In most cases, the addictive usually contain one or more of the following metals barium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, sodium etc.

The element sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine can also be present in combined form.

Function of the addictive

The following are the function of the additive, they make oil work because based stock by useful is not good enough for use as lubricant. They minimize destructive processes but confer beneficial properties.

  1. 9 Types of Additives

Anti wear and extreme pressure (EP Additive)

These addictive have the effects of reducing friction and preventing scoring and seizure. They undergo a chemical reaction with the metal surface and create a firm or solid lubricant that prevents further metal to metal contact.

Anti-oxidational addictives

These additives encouraging the decomposition of the aggressive peroxides created during the oils normal services or by formatting free reactions. Thus, the exact a significant slowing effect on oils natural rate of deterioration.

Anti-rust additive: In short trip service and under cold conditions, condensation results, engine does not get enough to dry off the water that gets entrapped in the lubricant the result is rushing of ferrous metal surface.

2fe +1/202  Fe03 catalyzed by water and acids. The rusting is prevented by addition of anti-rust additives to the oil to function in either of the two ways. Forming a strong adsorbed film on metal surface which prevents the access of corrosive aqueous materials or neutralizing acid materials in the lubricant so that it is destroyed before reaching the metal surface.

  • Dispersant additive: These are organic metallic compounds containing calcium or magnesium used to prevent formation of high temperature deposits, corrosive, wears and rusts in Engine
  • metal sulphonates

Alkylated metal phenates

  • Viscosity Index Improver

They are sometimes called modifiers. They reduces the change of the oils viscosity with changes of temperature (they raise the viscosity index) and are the agent that enable multi-grade oil to be produced. High viscosity index oil is need to achieve easy could starting which will need a low viscosity and also at full operating temperature a sufficient high viscosity is required for good lubrication in order to meet both high and low temperature requirement of the oils, polymers are added to increase the viscosity index of the oil.

Example of polymers for viscosity index improver are: Ethylene-propylene.


  • Anti Formants: these are addictive that when added to lubricant oil control form and air entrapment of this silicon.

Emulsifier on the other hand controls the amount of water that can be controlled by the oil.

2.10      Motor Oil

The internal combustion engine is not simple to lubricant it summands it’s heat of combustion with a film of oil which in the present of this heat, is expected to lubricant, cool and seal yet resist deterioration. The combustion formed residue and aspirated abrasive are introduced into this same oil, when the lubricant is reduced to a thin film, the abrasive material can change the engine part. The engine exposes the oil to oxygen in the present of a number of catalytic and yet the oil is expected to resist oxidation. The internal combustion engine confines within its compact mass both the source of its power and the elements of it have won destruction it prevents a rather complete lubricating problem.

The primary function of a motor engine oil are to lubricate, seal, cool and clean.

Characterization of lubricant (Engine Oil)

  • Good Temperature- Viscosity properties

The viscosity of lubricant (Engine oil) must be suitable to which engine is exposed for the engine operation, This s usually as simple as selecting the SAE grade lubricant recommended by the engine manufacturers. However, the research scientist developing the lubricant, the problem is much more complicated. The viscosity at 0oc or some lower temperature must be such that satisfactory engine starting is obtained on the other hand, the lubricant must be so thin at high temperature that lubricant will be ineffective. This means that the rate of change of viscosity within temperature must be low. This characteristic is indicated by the viscosity index (vi). the higher the V.I, the lower the rate of viscosity with temperature.

  • Good Oxidation and Thermal stability

Oxidation of a lubricant in the engine must be prevented, since the absorption of oxygen can make undesirable changes in the characteristics of the oil. The environment in which the lubricant finds itself in an engine is ideal for oxidation. The oil is hot and intimately mixed with air.

Catalyst are present in the form of finely divided metals and metal surface which serve to change acceleration oxidation.

  • Good Disperancy

The lubricating oil must keep the engine clean is to be operated properly. There are many kind of material which will deposit in engine if given the opportunity, these includes ordinary dirty and other material pick up from the atmosphere, products of partial combustion from the combustion of chamber and deterioration form oil itself. The materials when the first enter the oil are small enough to be readily suspended in the oil.

  • Antiwear effectiveness

It is quite obvious that it is desirable for lubricant to prevent wear in an engine, since the removal of a few grams of metal from the critical areas of an engine may render it totally inoperative. However there are as many type of wear and different mechanisms are required for wear prevention. Assuming that a lubricant has a sufficient viscosity to provide hydrodynamic lubrication and that the air cleaner and other filters are active in preventing the entrance of the abrasive dust the wear rate of an engine from these strictly mechanical sources will be very low.

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