The purpose of this study is to modify lignin for better blending with general purpose synthetic polymers. The possible advantages by using this modification would be cost reduction, better physical properties, and biodegradability. In this study, butyrolactone-modified lignin (BLL) and tetrahydrofuran-modified lignin (THFL) were used for aliphatic chain modification of lignin using an acid-catalyzed esterification method in order to mimic the relation of lignin-carbohydrate-complex (LCC) and cellulose. The results of several analyses indicated that lignin was well modified. It was confirmed that the lignin was modified as expected and the reaction sites of the modification, as well as the reaction behaviors, were varied by the reagent types. The result of X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) analysis indicated that modified lignin/polymer blends increased the crystallinity due to their good compatibility. It can be confirmed that the type of alkyl chain and the miscibility gap between the alkyl chain-matrix affected the mechanical properties enormously in the fungi-degradable environment. From this study, a new method of lignin modification is proposed, and it is found that modified lignin retains the property of the substituted aliphatic chain well. This method could be a proper lignin modification method.
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