Applications of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, especially when frying, and it has a high smoke point temperature which makes it good for this purpose. In communities where coconut oil is widely used in cooking, the refined oil is the one most commonly used.
Coconut oil is often used in making a curry.
Coconut oil is used in volume quantities for making margarine, soap and cosmetics.
Hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated coconut oil is often used in non-dairy creamers, and snack foods.
Fractionated coconut oil is also used in the manufacture of essences, massage oils and cosmetics
Cosmetics and skin treatments
Coconut oil is excellent as a skin moisturiser. A study shows that extra virgin coconut oil is as effective and safe as mineral oil when used as a moisturiser, with absence of adverse reactions. Although not suitable for use with condoms, coconut oil is an excellent, inexpensive, lubricant for sexual intercourse.
Coconut oil can also help in healing Keratosis pilaris by moisturising the affected area. The coconut oil should be applied in the shower, and may cause the KP bumps to disappear.
In India and Sri Lanka, coconut oil is commonly used for styling hair, and cooling or soothing the head (stress relief). People of coastal districts of Karnataka and Kerala bathe in warm water after applying coconut oil all over the body and leaving it as is for an hour. It is suggested by elders that this ritual must be done at least once in a week, to keep body, skin, and hair healthy.
As a fuel
Coconut oil is used in oil lamps.
-In diesel engines
See also "Vegetable oil used as fuel", "Vegetable Oil Economy" in Selected Articles.
Coconut oil has been tested for use as a feedstock for biodiesel to be used as a diesel engine fuel. In this manner it can be applied to power generation and transport using diesel engines.
Coconut oil is blended to make biodiesel but can also be used straight, without blending. However, only blends with 10% or less of coconut oil can be safely used in unmodified engines. The oil needs to meet the Weihenstephan standard for pure vegetable oil used as a fuel since otherwise moderate to severe damage from coking and clogging will occur in an unmodified engine . Stationary engines that are continuously loaded may possibly be used without engine modifications but there is divergent opinion about this.
The physical constraints of using raw coconut oil in a diesel engine are formed by:
higher viscosity of coconut oil (up to 10 times as high as diesel), leading to altered spray pattern of injected fuel, additional stress on injection pump
minimum combustion chamber temperature of 500 °C to avoid polymerisation of the fuel, leading to clogged injectors, sticking piston rings and lubrication oil deterioration
solidification point between 22-25 °C requires an additional fuel tank heater in temperate climates.
Raw coconut oil can be used as a fuel for generating electricity by remote communities that have an abundant supply of coconuts and milling capacity, provided diesel engines are adapted.
Coconut oil is currently used as a fuel for transport and electricity generation in the Philippines and India while research is being carried out in the islands of the Pacific. In the 1990s Bougainville conflict, islanders cut off from supplies due to a blockade used it to fuel their vehicles.
See also related articles in "Selected articles" www.filterinternational.com, www.infozeek.net