Polymers made from natural biomass are gaining interest due to the rising environmental concerns and depletion of petrochemical resources. Lignin isolated from lignocellulosic biomass is the second most abundant natural polymer next to cellulose. The paper pulp process produces industrial lignin as a byproduct that is mostly used for energy and has less significant utility in materials applications. High abundance, rich chemical functionalities, CO2
neutrality, reinforcing properties, antioxidant and UV blocking abilities, as well as environmental friendliness, make lignin an interesting substrate for materials and chemical development. However, poor processability, low reactivity, and intrinsic structural heterogeneity limit lignins′ polymeric applications in high-performance advanced materials. With the advent of controlled polymerization methods such as ATRP, RAFT, and ADMET, there has been a great interest in academia and industry to make value-added polymeric materials from lignin. This review focuses on recent investigations that utilize controlled polymerization methods to generate novel lignin-based polymeric materials. Polymers developed from lignin-based monomers, various polymer grafting technologies, copolymer properties, and their applications are discussed.
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