The structure, polymeric nature, and oligomers distribution of six types of commercial synthetic tannins (syntans) were determined by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. The syntans examined were: (i) polycondensation oligomers of sulfonated phenol and 4,4′-dioxydiphenylsulfone with formaldehyde and sodium bisulfite; (ii) sodium salts of polycondensation oligomers of phenol and sulfonated phenol with formaldehyde and urea; (iii) sodium salts of polycondensation oligomers of sulfonated phenol with formaldehyde and urea; (iv) sodium and ammonium salts of polycondensation oligomers of sulfonated naphtalene with formaldehyde; and (v) a sulfonated phenolic novolak resin. The oligomers distribution indicated that the relative abundance of oligomers from trimer to higher degrees of polymerization varied from 70% to more than 90% according to the different syntans tested. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009
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