There has been only one major use for ozone today in the field of chemical synthesis: the ozonation of oleic acid to produce azelaic acid. Oleic acid is obtained from either tallow, a by-product of meat-packing plants, or from tall oil, a byproduct of making paper from wood. Oleic acid is dissolved in about half its weight of pelargonic acid and is ozonized continuously in a reactor with approximately 2 percent ozone in oxygen; it is oxidized for several hours. The pelargonic and azelaic acids are recovered by vacuum distillation. The acids are then esterified to yield a plasticizer for vinyl compounds or for the production of lubricants. Azelaic acid is also a starting material in the production of a nylon type of polymer.
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