P629: Small ester synthesis by transesterification with analysis by Vernier mini GC and FTIR
The Vernier mini GC is a small, affordable instrument for undergraduate laboratories and research. Considering the widespread interest in biodiesel synthesis, we developed a small molecule analogue experiment utilizing triacetin or tributyrin and small alcohol molecules from methanol to propanol. The Vernier mini GC could analyze such small ester products if the sample was prepared by simple distillation of the transesterification mixture. The functional groups could be verified by FTIR. The current experiment used in our organic chemistry curriculum is the fruit of two senior thesis projects and numerous student independent research projects. The development of the experiment with many hard earned caveats will describe a process that deepens understanding of the basic biodiesel synthesis reaction.