Improving the Reactivity of Sugarcane Bagasse Kraft Lignin by a Combination of Fractionation and Phenolation for Phenol–Formaldehyde Adhesive Applications
College of Light Industry and Food Engineering, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
Guangxi Key Laboratory of Clean Pulp & Papermaking and Pollution Control, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1825; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081825
Received: 18 July 2020 / Revised: 6 August 2020 / Accepted: 10 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
The low reactivity of lignin hinders its application as a phenol substitute in phenol–formaldehyde (PF) resin. Therefore, the combination of fractionation and phenolation was adopted to enhance the reactivity of lignin for preparing a phenol–formaldehyde resin adhesive. Sugarcane bagasse kraft lignin and its fractions were employed to replace 40 wt% of phenol to prepare a PF adhesive. The fractionation increased the reactivity of lignin, however the as-prepared lignin-based PF (LPF) hardly met its application requirements as an adhesive. Therefore, the phenolation of lignin under an acidic condition was adopted to further improve its reactivity. The phenolated lignin was characterized by FTIR, gel permeation chromatography, and NMR, indicating its active sites increased while its molecular weight decreased. The phenolated lignin was used to replace 40 wt% of phenol to prepare a PF adhesive (PLPF) which was further employed to prepare plywood. The results indicated that the combination of fractionation and phenolation effectively enhanced the reactivity of lignin, and eventually improved the properties of the PLPF and its corresponding plywood. The free formaldehyde content of PLPF decreased to 0.16%. The wet bonding strength of the as-prepared plywood increased to 1.36 MPa, while the emission of formaldehyde decreased to 0.31 mL/L.