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    In this study, nineteen unmodified lignins from various sources (hardwood, softwood, wheat straw, and corn stover) and isolation processes (kraft, soda, organosolv, sulfite, and enzymatic hydrolysis) were used to replace 30 wt.% of petroleum-based polyol in rigid polyurethane/polyisocyanurate (PUR/PIR) foam formulations. Lignin samples were characterized by measuring their ash content, hydroxyl content (Phosphorus Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy), impurities (Inductively Coupled Plasma), and pH. After foam formulation, properties of lignin-based foams were evaluated and compared with a control foam (with no lignin) via cell morphology, closed-cell content, compression strength, apparent density, thermal conductivity, and color analysis. Lignin-based foams passed all measured standard specifications required by ASTM International C1029-15 for type 1 rigid insulation foams, except for three foams. These three foams had poor compressive strengths, significantly larger cell sizes, darker color, lower closed-cell contents, and slower foaming times. The foam made with corn stover enzymatic hydrolysis lignin showed no significant difference from the control foam in terms of compressive strength and outperformed all other lignin-based foams due to its higher aliphatic and p-hydroxyphenyl hydroxyl contents. Lignin-based foams that passed all required performance testing were made with lignins having higher pH, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and aliphatic/p-hydroxyphenyl hydroxyl group contents than those that failed.


    Christián Henry, Akash Gondaliya, Mark Thies, Mojgan Nejad. Studying the Suitability of Nineteen Lignins as Partial Polyol Replacement in Rigid Polyurethane/Polyisocyanurate Foam. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2022 Apr 14;27(8)

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    PMID: 35458731

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