OLGA VALERICA TAGA (SAPUNARU), CLAUDIA IRINA KONCSAG, ANA MARIA SIVRIU, GHEORGHITA JINESCU ISOPROPYL LACTATE OBTAINING BY TRANSESTERIFICATION IN REACTIVE DISTILLATION SYSTEM Transesterification is a classical organic synthesis reaction with many uses in both laboratory and industrial applications. In this reaction, one ester is converted to another by the radical alkoxy exchange. In some cases, the transesterification process is more advantageous when used in the manufacturing of esters than their synthesis by direct esterification of the carboxylic acids with alcohols. Based on literature studies, a transesterification study coupled with the reactive distillation (RD) was performed in order to obtain isopropyl lactate (IPL) by methyl lactate (ML) with isopropanol (IPA). The independent variables studied were: the alcohol / methyl lactate molar ratio (R), the number of the theoretical stages in the fractionation zone (NTS) and the reactive distillation column reflux ratio (RR). The experimental matrix was set for a 23 factorial experiment with three variables at two levels: R = 2 and 4; NTS = 1.7, respectively 2.4 and RR = 2 and 7. A linear mathematical model was proposed to correlate the methyl lactate conversion with all three variables. The model is reliable as the statistical analysis proved.