Functional properties of technical lignins need to be characterized in more detail to become a higher added value renewable raw material for the chemical industry. The suitability of a lignin from different plants or trees obtained by different technical processes can only be predicted for selected applications, such as binders, if reliable analytical data are available. In the present paper, structure dependent properties of four industrial lignins were analyzed before and after successive organic solvent extractions. The lignins have been fractionated according to their molar mass by these solvents extractions. Kraft and soda lignins were shown to have different molar mass distributions and chemical compositions. Lignin carbohydrate complexes are most recalcitrant for extraction with organic solvents. These poorly soluble complexes can consist of up to 34% of carbohydrates in soda lignins. Modeling by principle component analysis (PCA) was performed aiming at prediction of the application potential of different lignins for binder production. The lignins and their fractions could be classified in different clusters based on their properties, which are structure dependent. Kraft softwood lignins show the highest potential for plywood binder application followed by hardwood soda lignin and the fractions of Sarkanda grass soda lignin with medium molar mass. Expectedly, the softwood lignins contain the highest number of reactive sites in ortho positions to the phenolic OH group. Moreover, these lignins have a low level of impurities and medium molar mass.
- kraft lignin