A natural oil obtained from the seed of the castor plant, castor oil is composed of approx. 90% hydroxy, unsaturated C18:1 fatty acid-ricinoleic acid.
Approximately 90% of the fatty acid content is ricinoleic acid, an 18-carbon acid having a double bond in the 9-10 position and a hydroxyl group on the 12th carbon. This combination of hydroxyl group and unsaturation occurs only in castor oil.
The primary sources of the castor bean are India, Brazil and China. Scientific and historical records reveal that the chemical nature and composition are remarkably uniform regardless of origin.
There are two main technical grades of Castor Oil:
· Pale Pressed, which is obtained from the first pressing of the castor bean. Pale Pressed Castor Oil it is light in colour and low in acidity.
· No.1, or Industrial Castor Oil, which is obtained from a mixture of the first pressing and the second phase of production, solvent extraction.
The unique composition of the oil permits it to be chemically transformed into a host of other useful forms and opens up a vast range of uses it can be applied to.Uses of Castor Oil
The main use of castor oil is the industrial production of coatings, but it is also employed to make pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in the textile and leather industries and for manufacturing plastics and fibres. Polyols for polyurethane systems are also derived from it, as well as disinfectants, soaps, printing inks, plasticizers, wetting agents, and lubricants.