Lignin

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Description

An natural aromatic polymer found in the cell walls of grasses and woody plants. Lignin and hemicellulose cement the fiber cells together. Lignin composes 17-30% of wood and thus mechanical wood pulp also contains lignin. In the manufacture of paper pulp by chemical processes, lignin is removed by reaction with alkaline or sulfur compounds. The presence of lignin in paper shortens its overall lifetime as lignin can photo-oxidize to form acidic products which can then attack the cellulose. The lignin produced as a waste-product in the manufacture of paper is used in phenolic plastic products as a stabilizer, binder, dye dispersant, and filler. It is also a source of vanillin. In the destructive distillation of wood, lignin decomposes to produce methanol.

Synonyms and Related Terms

lignine (Fr.)

Other Properties

Insoluble in water and most solvents.

Composition C41H32O6
Melting Point 250-275

High amounts of lignin will cause paper fibers to stain yellow when treated with Graff "C" stain. This stain is often used to determine the presence of lignin in paper samples and for paper fiber identification.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
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  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 5510
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  • Silvie Turner, Which Paper?, Design Press, New York, 1991
  • J. H. Graff "Color Atlas for Fiber Identification" The Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, WI, 1940.
  • Walter Rantanen. 'Fiber ID Course.' Integrated Paper Services. June 2013. Lecture.