• emulsion polymerization;
  • porous materials;
  • cellulose and other wood products;
  • biopolymers and renewable polymers;
  • colloids


Black liquor is a by-product of the paper mill Kraft process that deserves more valorization than its present use as low-grade fuel. In this work, we present an original approach allowing the preparation of macroporous interconnected monolithic materials using as-received black liquor as main raw material. The process involves the formulation of an oil-in-water medium internal phase emulsion as soft templating porosity medium. The oil (internal phase) used is castor oil, whereas the continuous phase is constituted of black liquor containing a hydrophilic surfactant and epichlorohydrin as lignin crosslinking agent. Due to the high viscosity of the system, a specially designed emulsifying device was employed. The proper choices of the surfactant and emulsification conditions allow obtaining cellular biopolymers with almost monodisperse, interconnected void structure and satisfactory mechanical properties. These innovative results are promising for the future development of fully bio-based emulsion-derived materials. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013