Biopolyols obtained via microwave-assisted liquefaction of lignin: structure, rheological, physical and thermal properties
The present study examined the application of polyols obtained via microwave-assisted liquefaction of lignin in the production of rigid polyurethane foam. Lignin was liquefed in crude glycerol and 1,4-butanediol at diferent temperatures (130–170 °C), without a catalyst and using various biomass concentrations (15 and 30 wt%). The physicochemical properties, process yield, and FTIR-based identifcation of the obtained polyols were investigated. Under optimal conditions, i.e., a 5-min microwave heating time and a reaction temperature of 150 °C, a polyol characterized by a suitable hydroxyl number of 670 mg KOH/g was obtained with a 93% process yield. Liquefed biopolyol was directly used for the production of rigid polyurethane foams with the addition of polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate at the [NCO/OH] ratio of 2:1. Mechanical properties of the obtained foams gradually improved with increasing content of biopolyol. The 5% weight loss temperature (T5) for bio-based foams was higher, respectively 6 and 13 °C compared to the petrochemical foam. Replacement of petrochemical polyether with biopolyols showed the ability to obtain rigid polyurethane foams from lignin and crude glycerol.
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