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Lignin liquefaction under microwave heating


Correspondence to: J. Labidi (E - mail:


Organosolv lignin from olive tree pruning was subjected to liquefaction under microwave heating and modifying the experimental conditions (time, temperature, and concentration of catalyst) according to an experimental design. The organosolv lignin and obtained polyols were characterized using attenuated-total reflection infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), gel permeation chromatography, and another parameter such as the hydroxyl number (IOH). The ATR-IR and the TGA results showed that the solvents (polyethylene glycol #400 and glycerol) reacted with the lignin being present in the final product. The optimal polyol showed a liquefaction yield of 99.07% that was obtained in 5 min of reaction at 155°C with 1% of sulphuric acid. The liquefaction product showed a hydroxyl number of 811.8 mg KOH/g, suitable to be used as a precursor in polyurethane foam synthesis. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3292–3298, 2013