Castor Oil Plant

Upto the beginning of the 20th  Century, the main use of castor was to extract castor oil to use it in the machine manufacturing, mainly as a purgative. Now the bulk of crop is utilized in industry. It is water resistant and is used for waiting fabrics and their protective coverings. It is used in the manufacture of high - grade lubricants, soap and printing inks, on textile dying and for  preserving  leather. The dehydrated oil is an excellent drying agent which compares favourably with tung oil and is used in paints and varnishes. The hydrogenated oil is used in the manufacture of waxes, plastics, carbon paper, candles and crayons. They are also used for plastics, ointments and cosmetics.

Castor Oil Plant

Process of Castor Oil Plant Production

Castor oil plant seed is grown commercially on plantations but also harvested from wild plants.  The seed must be hulled after harvesting.  This can be done laboriously by hand or, more commonly, by machine.  Small-scale hand-operated dehullers are available.

1. Pressing Section of Castor Oil Plant

The seeds contain about 50 percent oil by weight.  To extract the oil they must be crushed and pressed with hydraulic or continuous screw pressing at high or low temperature.  High temperature hydraulic pressing yields 80 percent of available oil.  Further solvent extraction can release much of the remaining oil.

2. Extraction Section of Castor Oil Plant

Extraction of oil from castor seeds is done in a manner similar to that for most other oil seeds. The ripe seeds are allowed to dry, when they split open and discharge the seeds. These seeds are cleaned, cooked and dried prior to extraction. Cooking is done to coagulate protein (necessary to permit efficient extraction), and to free the oil for efficient pressing.

3. Modification Section of Castor Oil Plant

Modification of the oil is achieved by a variety of chemical processes including oxidation, hydrogenation and thermal treatments to produce products for specific applications.