A study of the kinetics of nucleation in a palm oil melt
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- Ng, W.L. J Am Oil Chem Soc (1990) 67: 879. doi:10.1007/BF02540510
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Nucleation from a supercooled melt of palm oil was studied by optical microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Despite being a multicomponent system, palm oil exhibits a rather simple cooling thermogram with its high- and low-T exotherms exclusively related to the “hard” and “soft” components of the oil. As the “hard” components are being removed, the position of the high-T peak shifts down toward the low-T peak with diminishing peak intensity, while the position of the latter remains virtually unchanged.
At 288°K, nucleation in a palm oil melt is instantaneous. Its induction time-temperature curve shows an abrupt discontinuity at 297°K, which demarcates the occurrence of one polymorph from another. Nucleation data fit very well into the Fisher-Turnbull equation. Its larger activation free energy of nucleation is accompanied by lowering of the melting point and an increase in the crystal/melt interfacial free energy as compared to palm stearin. The slow rate of nucleation in palm oil is attributed to intermolecular interaction between its “hard” and “soft” components.