The reactivity and physicochemical properties of lignins are partly governed by their molar mass distribution. The development of reliable standard methods for determination of the molar mass distribution is not only relevant for designing technical lignins for specific applications, but also for monitoring and elucidating delignification and pulping processes. Size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) offers many advantages, such as wide availability, short analysis time, low sample demand, and determination of molar mass distribution over a wide range. A collaborative study has been undertaken within the ¿Eurolignin¿ European thematic network to standardise SEC analysis of technical lignins. The high-molar-mass fraction of polydisperse lignins was shown to be the main source of intra- and interlaboratory variations, depending on the gel type, elution solvent, detection mode, and calculation strategy. The reliability of two widespread systems have been tested: one based on alkali and a hydrophilic gel (e.g., TSK Toyopearl gel) and the other based on THF as solvent and polystyrene-based gels (e.g., Styragel). A set of practical recommendations has been deduced.
- molecular-weight distributions
- kraft lignin
- model compounds
Baumberger, S., Abaecherli, A., Fasching, M., Gellerstedt, G., Gosselink, R. J. A., Hortling, B., Li, J., Saake, B., & de Jong, E. (2007). Molar mass determination of lignins by size-exclusion chromatography: towards standardisation of the method. Holzforschung, 61(4), 459-468. https://doi.org/10.1515/HF.2007.074