Tailored thermosetting wood adhesive based on well-defined hardwood lignin fractions

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By aiming at tailoring the bonding strength of a thermosetting lignin-containing phenol-formaldehyde (LPF) wood adhesive, different fractions of an industrial hardwood alkaline lignin have been prepared through sequential solvent fractionation (i-PrOH, EtOH, and MeOH). Those fractions were comprehensively characterized by GPC, GC, Py/GC−MS, and NMR techniques. Lignin fractions with low molar mass and narrow dispersity, including the i-PrOH-soluble and EtOH-soluble ones, were of high purity and had more reactive sites for LPF adhesive synthesis and better accessibility due to lower degree of condensation than the high molar mass ones. Some recalcitrance of integrating high molar mass fractions covalently into the PF adhesive was observed, which was also true in the case of lignin phenolation. The tailored bonding strength of the LPF adhesive, tested by gluing wood pieces, provided strong evidence for molecular structure−performance correlation; the i-PrOH-PF had the lowest activation energy, the highest curing enthalpy, and the strongest bonding strength of 2.16 MPa. This study demonstrates a clear structure−property-application relationship of technical hardwood lignin in the LPF adhesive field, which might pave the way for a more effective bulk valorization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13517–13526
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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