Lignin valorization by forming toughened thermally stimulated shape memory copolymeric elastomers: Evaluation of different fractionated industrial lignins



Lignin-based thermal responsive dual shape memory copolymeric elastomers were prepared with a highly branched prepolymer (HBP, A2B3 type) via a simple one-pot bulk polycondensation reaction. The effect of fractionated lignin type (with good miscibility in the HBP) on copolymer properties was investigated. The thermal and mechanical properties of the copolymers were characterized by DMA, DSC, and TGA. Tensile properties were dominated by HBP <45% lignin content while lignin dominated >45% content. The copolymers glass transition temperature (Tg) increased with lignin content and lignin type did not play a significant role. Thermally stimulated dual shape memory effects (SME) of the copolymers were quantified by cyclic thermomechanical tests. All copolymers had shape fixity rate >95% and >90% shape recovery for all compositions. The copolymer shape memory transition temperature (Ttrans) increased with lignin content and Ttrans was 20°C higher than Tg. Lignin, a renewable resource, can be used as a netpoint segment in polymer systems with SME behavior. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2015, 132, 41389.