The epoxidation of oleic acid was carried out by using in situ generated performic acid (HCOOOH) to produce epoxidized oleic acid. Performic acid was formed by mixing formic acid (as oxygen carrier) and hydrogen peroxide (as oxygen donor). The epoxide ring is very reactive, especially in the presence of acidic condition making the epoxide a suitable intermediate for synthesis of other chemicals. The most likely side reaction that occurred in the in situ epoxidation is the reaction of oxirane ring with formic acid, which led to formation of diol and a-glycol as side products. Oxirane cleavage of the epoxide was studied and suggests first order in oxirane concentration and second order with respect to formic acid.
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