The Effect of High Lignin Content on Oxidative Nanofibrillation of Wood Cell Wall
Nanomaterials. 2021, 11(5):1179

Jonasson S, Bünder A, Berglund L, Hertzberg M, Niittylä T, Oksman K

Wood from field-grown poplars with different genotypes and varying lignin content (17.4 wt % to 30.0 wt %) were subjected to one-pot 2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidin-1-yl)oxyl catalyzed oxidation and high-pressure homogenization in order to investigate nanofibrillation following simultaneous delignification and cellulose oxidation. When comparing low and high lignin wood it was found that the high lignin wood was more easily fibrillated as indicated by a higher nanofibril yield (68% and 45%) and suspension viscosity (27 and 15 mPa·s). The nanofibrils were monodisperse with diameter ranging between 1.2 and 2.0 nm as measured using atomic force microscopy. Slightly less cellulose oxidation (0.44 and 0.68 mmol·g−1) together with a reduced process yield (36% and 44%) was also found which showed that the removal of a larger amount of lignin increased the efficiency of the homogenization step despite slightly reduced oxidation of the nanofibril surfaces. The surface area of oxidized high lignin wood was also higher than low lignin wood (114 m2·g−1 and 76 m2·g−1) which implicates porosity as a factor that can influence cellulose nanofibril isolation from wood in a beneficial manner.

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