Colloidal Lignin Particles and Epoxies for Bio-Based, Durable, and Multiresistant Nanostructured Coatings

Karl Alexander Henn, Nina Forsman, Tao Zou, Monika Österberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


There is a need for safe and sustainable alternatives in the coating industry. Bio-based coatings are interesting in this perspective. Although various oils and waxes have been used as traditional wood coatings, they often lack sufficient durability. Lignin is an abundant natural polyphenol that can be used to cure epoxies, but its poor water solubility has impeded the use of unmodified lignin in coatings in the past. To address this issue, water-dispersible colloidal lignin particles (CLPs) and an epoxy compound, glycerol diglycidyl ether (GDE), were used to prepare multiprotective bio-based surface coatings. With the GDE/CLP ratios of 0.65 and 0.52 g/g, the cured CLP-GDE films became highly resistant to abrasion and heat. When applied as a coating on wooden substrates, the particulate morphology enabled effective protection against water, stains, and sunlight with very thin layers (less than half the weight of commercial coatings) while retaining the wood's breathability excellently. Optimal hydrophobicity was reached with a coat weight of 6.9 g(CLP)/m2, resulting in water contact angle values of up to 120°. Due to their spherical shape and chemical structure, the CLPs acted as both a hardener and a particulate component in the coating, which removed the need for an underlying binding polymer matrix. Light interferometry measurements showed that while commercial polymeric film-forming coatings smoothened the substrate noticeably, the particulate morphology retained the substrate's roughness in lightweight coatings, allowing for a high water contact angle. This work presents new strategies for lignin applications in durable particulate coatings and their advantages compared to both currently used synthetic and bio-based coatings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34793–34806
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number29
Early online date15 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bio-based
  • epoxy
  • lignin
  • lignin nanoparticles
  • nanostructured
  • surface coating


Dive into the research topics of 'Colloidal Lignin Particles and Epoxies for Bio-Based, Durable, and Multiresistant Nanostructured Coatings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • LignoSphere, Bioproducts

    Österberg, M., Zou, T., Henn, A., Forsman, N. & Smal, I.


    Project: Business Finland: New business from research ideas (TUTLI)

  • FlagShip CERES

    Mäkelä, K.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

Cite this