Effects of pyrolysis temperature on the chemical composition of refined softwood and hardwood lignins

Brett G. Diehl, Nicole R. Brown, Curtis W. Frantz, Matthew R. Lumadue, Fred Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The current study uses nuclear magnetic resonance, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy to investigate the evolution of refined softwood and hardwood lignins under various pyrolytic exposures. Little chemical change occurred at pyrolysis temperatures of 250 and 300 C, whereas significant mass loss and chemical change was observed at 400 and 500 C. These losses were mainly attributed to evolution of methoxyl, hydroxyl, and propyl groups. Mass loss plateaued following pyrolysis at 500 C, but rearrangements continued to occur at higher temperatures, resulting in char that became increasingly polyaromatic in nature. Following brief pyrolytic exposures at 500 and 600 C, the refined hardwood and softwood lignins yielded coal-like products. Lignin pyrolyzed at higher temperatures yielded chars with greater order, similar in composition to coke. These coal and coke-like products are called "lignin-based carbon" (LBC). The polyaromatic nature of the LBC after high temperature pyrolysis was perceived as the result of radical formation and recombination, leading to fused aromatic structures, which occurs more readily at higher temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-537
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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