CHARACTERIZATION AND ANALYSIS OF HIGH VOLTAGE ATMOSPHERIC COLD PLASMA TREATMENT OF SOYBEAN OIL
Findings presented in this dissertation show that polyunsaturated fatty acids of soybean oil effectively reacted with high voltage atmospheric cold plasma gas species of various gases including hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen at room temperature without a catalyst. Hydrogenation, nitration, and epoxidation reactions were observed along with polymerization. Unexpectedly, hydrogen gas was not the primary source of atomic hydrogen observed under these experimental conditions. Rather, it is suggested that water vapor, present as an impurity, supplied hydrogen ions to the hydrogenation reactions. Nitrogen gas modified atmosphere is an electron-rich medium that catalyze reactions. Further investigation is suggested for optimizing the process of oil hydrogenation, as well as for exploring the potential to produce bio-based gels, lubricants, and greases.