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Literature Abstracts

 1541.    ---------------.  [IMHAUSEN, A.]  [Early History and Chemistry of the Industrial Synthesis of Fatty Acids.]  Chem.-Ztg., vol. 62, 1938, pp. 213-215; Brennstoff-Chem., vol. 19, 1938, p. 232.

        Process recently developed by the I. G. Farbenindustrie for the production of fatty acids involves the catalytic oxidation of a suitable fraction of the high-molecular hydrocarbons obtained from the Fischer-Tropsch process.  The reaction mechanism is not very well known.  Whether the O2 molecule ruptures a C-C bond of the hydrocarbon with the formation of a dialkylperoxide or whether it becomes enclosed in a molecule of paraffin with the formation of an alkylhydroperoxide is not yet clear.  The O2 could, in the primary step, unite with a molecule of paraffin with the formation of a molecular compound.  The formation of an olefin by dehydrogenation, whose double bond then reacts further with O2, is conceivable.  The peroxides then become further oxidized with the formation of alcohols and aldehydes from which the fatty acids arise by way of the peracids.  Alcohols and aldehydes are, thus, the intermediate products of fatty acid oxidation.  There is also the possibility of ester formation from 2 mol. of aldehyde.  Esters could be produced also by the reaction of the intermediately formed alcohols with the fatty acids.  Side reactions are favored thereby so that the fatty acids are sensitive to further oxidation and can react with O2 more easily than do the hydrocarbons.  In this way undesired oxyacids are formed, which easily form lactones with the intermolecular splitting off of H2O, and, if the oxy-group of the one acid reacts with the carboxyl-group of another, estolides are formed.  Moreover, the oxyacids easily split off H2O with the formation of unsaturated acids.  The oxidation also can lead to ketocarboxylic and dicarboxylic acids.  It has been found possible, however, to suppress all these side reactions in favor of the desired formation of normal fatty acids so that today a large part of the soap used in Germany is made from synthetically produced fatty acids.