Skip to main content

Fractionation of Lignin for Selective Shape Memory Effects at Elevated Temperatures

Publication Type
Journal Name
Publication Date
Page Number

We report a facile approach to control the shape memory effects and thermomechanical characteristics of a lignin-based multiphase polymer. Solvent fractionation of a syringylpropane-rich technical organosolv lignin resulted in selective lignin structures having excellent thermal stability coupled with high stiffness and melt-flow resistance. The fractionated lignins were reacted with rubber in melt-phase to form partially networked elastomer enabling selective programmability of the material shape either at 70°C, a temperature that is high enough for rubbery matrix materials, or at an extremely high temperature, 150 °C. Utilizing appropriate functionalities in fractionated lignins, tunable shape fixity with high strain and stress recovery, particularly high-stress tolerance were maintained. Detailed studies of lignin structures and chemistries were correlated to molecular rigidity, morphology, and stress relaxation, as well as shape memory effects of the materials. The fractionation of lignin enabled enrichment of specific lignin properties for efficient shape memory effects that broaden the materials’ application window. Electron microscopy, melt-rheology, dynamic mechanical analysis and ultra-small angle neutron scattering were conducted to establish morphology of NBR-lignin elastomers from solvent fractionated lignins.