Polymers (Basel). 2022 Jul 25;14(15):3000. doi: 10.3390/polym14153000.
Soda lignin is a by-product of the soda process for producing cellulose from grassy raw materials. Since a method for the industrial processing of lignin of this type is still lacking, several research teams have been working on solving this problem. We first propose a modification of soda lignin with sulfamic acid over solid catalysts. As solid catalysts for lignin sulfation, modified carbon catalysts (with acid sites) and titanium and aluminum oxides have been used. In the elemental analysis, it is shown that the maximum sulfur content (16.5 wt%) was obtained with the Sibunit-4® catalyst oxidized at 400 °C. The incorporation of a sulfate group has been proven by the elemental analysis and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The molecular weight distribution has been examined by gel permeation chromatography. It has been demonstrated that the solid catalysts used in the sulfation process causes hydrolysis reactions and reduces the molecular weight and polydispersity index. It has been established by the thermal analysis that sulfated lignin is thermally stabile at temperatures of up to 200 °C. According to the atomic force microscopy data, the surface of the investigated film consists of particles with an average size of 50 nm. The characteristics of the initial and sulfated β-O-4 lignin model compounds have been calculated and recorded using the density functional theory.