Lignin, a natural biopolymer and abundant by-product, is a particularly promising feedstock for carbon-based materials and a potentially sustainable alternative to phenolic resins, which are typically derived from crude oil. The source and method used to isolate lignin have a large impact on the thermal properties of the polymer, and can affect resultant materials prepared from lignin. Previous investigations into lignin characterisation often utilise a variety of feedstocks and isolation methods, which can make robust comparisons challenging. We present a systematic investigation into the chemical composition of lignins extracted using an identical Organosolv isolation method but from different biomass feedstocks: hemp hurds, eucalyptus chips, flax straw, rice husk and pine. We show how the aromatic structure of lignin can affect the thermal behaviour of the polymer, which correlates to the structure of resulting carbons. Carbons from lignins with a high syringyl unit content display a pronounced foaming behaviour which, on activation, results in a high-surface area material with hierarchical porosity.
- Thermal behaviour
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal