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Biomacromolecules. 2013 Jul 8;14(7):2354-63. doi: 10.1021/bm400465p. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Preparation and characterization of Kraft lignin-based moisture-responsive films with reversible shape-change capability.

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Advanced Biomaterials Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Preparation of moisture-responsive Kraft lignin-based materials by electrospinning blends of Kraft lignin fractions with different physical properties is presented. The differences in thermal mobility between lignin fractions are shown to influence the degree of interfiber fusion occurring during oxidative thermostabilization of electrospun nonwoven fabrics, resulting in different material morphologies including submicrometer fibers, bonded nonwovens, porous films, and smooth films. The relative amount of different lignin fractions and degree of fiber flow and fiber fusion is shown to influence the tendency for the electrospun materials to be transformed into moisture-responsive materials capable of reversible changes in shape. Material characterization by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy as well characterization of the chemical and physical properties of Kraft lignin fractions by dynamic rheology, 1H and 13C NMR, and gel permeation chromatography combined with multiangle laser light scattering are presented. A proposed mechanism underlying moisture-responsiveness, shape change, and shape recovery is discussed based on the differences in chemical structure and physical properties of Kraft lignin fractions.

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