High-Throughput Synthesis of Lignin Particles (∼30 nm to ∼2 μm) via Aerosol Flow Reactor: Size Fractionation and Utilization in Pickering Emulsions

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An aerosol flow reactor was used for the first time for high-throughput, high yield synthesis of spherical lignin particles with given inherent hydrophilicity, depending on the precursor biomolecule. In situ fractionation via Berner type impactor afforded populations with characteristic sizes ranging from ∼30 nm to 2 μm. The as-produced, dry lignin particles displayed excellent mechanical integrity, even after redispersion under high shear in either mineral oil or water. They were effective in the stabilization of oil-in-water (O/W) Pickering emulsions with tunable droplet size, depending on the dimension of the lignin particles used for emulsification. The emulsion stability correlated with particle concentration as well as the respective lignin type. For the O/W emulsions stabilized with the more hydrophilic lignin particles, negligible changes in phase separation via Ostwald ripening and coalescence were observed over a period of time of more than two months. Together with the fact that the lignin particle concentrations used in emulsification were as low as 0.1%, our results reveal a remarkable ability to endow emulsified systems with high colloidal stability. Overall, we offer a new, high-yield, scalable nanomanufacturing approach to producing dry spherical lignin particles with size control and high production capacity. A number of emerging applications for these organic particles can be envisioned and, as a proof-of-concept, we illustrate here surfactant-free emulsification.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23302–23310
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • aerosol flow, lignin nanoparticles, microparticles, particle fractionation, Pickering emulsions

ID: 7031565