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Wood Research and Technology


Cellulose – Hemicelluloses – Lignin – Wood Extractives

Editor-in-Chief: Salmén, Lennart

Editorial Board: Daniel, Geoffrey / Militz, Holger / Rosenau, Thomas / Sixta, Herbert / Vuorinen, Tapani / Argyropoulos, Dimitris S. / Balakshin, Yu / Barnett, J. R. / Burgert, Ingo / Rio, Jose C. / Evans, Robert / Evtuguin, Dmitry V. / Frazier, Charles E. / Fukushima, Kazuhiko / Gindl-Altmutter, Wolfgang / Glasser, W. G. / Holmbom, Bjarne / Isogai, Akira / Kadla, John F. / Koch, Gerald / Lachenal, Dominique / Laine, Christiane / Mansfield, Shawn D. / Morrell, J.J. / Niemz, Peter / Potthast, Antje / Ragauskas, Arthur J. / Ralph, John / Rice, Robert W. / Salin, Jarl-Gunnar / Schmitt, Uwe / Schultz, Tor P. / Sipilä, Jussi / Takano, Toshiyuki / Tamminen, Tarja / Theliander, Hans / Welling, Johannes / Willför, Stefan / Yoshihara, Hiroshi

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 2.079

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Volume 73, Issue 1


Lignin-based foams as insulation materials: a review

Vebi Mimini
  • Division of Chemistry of Renewable Resources, Department of Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Konrad-Lorenz-Straße 24, Tulln A-3430, Austria
  • Wood Kplus – Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH, Altenberger Straße 69, Linz A-4040, Austria
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Vasken Kabrelian / Karin Fackler / Hubert Hettegger
  • Division of Chemistry of Renewable Resources, Department of Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Konrad-Lorenz-Straße 24, Tulln A-3430, Austria
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Antje Potthast
  • Division of Chemistry of Renewable Resources, Department of Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Konrad-Lorenz-Straße 24, Tulln A-3430, Austria
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Thomas Rosenau
  • Corresponding author
  • Division of Chemistry of Renewable Resources, Department of Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Konrad-Lorenz-Straße 24, Tulln A-3430, Austria
  • Johan Gadolin Process Chemistry Centre, Åbo Akademi University, Porthansgatan 3, Åbo/Turku FI-20500, Finland
  • Email
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Published Online: 2018-12-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2018-0111


The bulk use of renewable polymers is currently largely limited to cellulose and, less significantly, hemicelluloses. Technical lignins are only applied in novel materials to a rather limited extent, although bulk lignin utilization is a worldwide research object. Native lignins, which belong to the second or third most abundant biopolymers of terrestrial plants, are mostly used in the form of technical lignins from wood pulping processes; they are employed in low-performance sectors or simply burnt for the generation of energy. Technical lignins are available in huge quantities and have a large application potential, mainly in areas where their aromatic nature is of relevance. This review presents the state of the art of foamed lignin-based polymers (lignofoams) as high-performance insulation materials. In the focus of this presentation are the fundamental foaming principles and influential agents that have an improvement potential concerning the matrix interactions between technical lignins (including lignosulfonates) and a copolymer in foam composites. The different approaches for foam preparation are critically compared. In general, the reviewed papers disclose that the lignin part in foams should be less than 37%. There are significant difficulties to improve the properties of lignofoams, and thus intensive research is needed to find better formulations and new technologies.

Keywords: foaming; insulation; lignin; lignin utilization; lignofoams; lignosulfonate; technical lignin


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About the article


Received: 2018-05-13

Accepted: 2018-10-26

Published Online: 2018-12-08

Published in Print: 2018-12-19

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: Financial support to WOOD Kplus was provided by the Austrian government, the provinces of lower Austria, upper Austria, and Carinthia as well as by Lenzing AG. We also express our gratitude to the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU University), the Johannes Kepler University, Linz, and Lenzing AG for their in-kind contributions.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts of interest declared.

Citation Information: Holzforschung, Volume 73, Issue 1, Pages 117–130, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2018-0111.

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