Lignin-based resins for kraft paper applications, TAPPI Journal November 2019

Application: This work is aimed at establishing biorefinery lignins as a promising raw material to replace phenol in formaldehyde-free resins for use in kraft paper applications. 

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Author: Prajakta Dongre and Biljana Bujanovic
Lignin-based resins for kraft paper applications, TAPPI Jour
ABSTRACT: We investigated miscanthus (MS) and willow (W) lignin-furfural based resins as potential reinforce-ment agents on softwood and hardwood kraft paper. These resins might be sustainable alternatives to the commercial phenolformaldehyde (PF) resins. Phenol is a petrochemical product and formaldehyde has been classified as a carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The lignin used in this study was derived from hot water extraction (160ºC, 2 h) of MS and W biomass, and may be considered sulfur-free. These biorefinery lignins were characterized for their chemical composition and inherent properties via wet chemistry and instrumental techniques. The resin blends (MS-resin and W-resin) were characterized for their molecular weight, thermal behavior, and mechanical properties. Mechanical properties were measured by the resin’s ability to reinforce softwood and hard-wood kraft papers. The effect of adding hexamethylenetetramine (HMTA), a curing agent, to the resin was also examined. Mixtures of PF and lignin-based resins were investigated to further explore ways to reduce use of non-renewables, phenol, and carcinogenic formaldehyde. The results show that lignin-based resins have the potential to replace PF resins in kraft paper applications. For softwood paper, the highest strength was achieved using W-resin, without HMTA (2.5 times greater than PF with HMTA). For hardwood paper, MS-resin with HMTA gave the highest strength (2.3 times higher than PF with HMTA). The lignin-based resins, without HMTA, also yielded mechanical properties comparable to PF with HMTA.

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