Solvent-Resistant Lignin-Epoxy Hybrid Nanoparticles for Covalent Surface Modification and High-Strength Particulate Adhesives

Tao Zou, Mika Henrikki Sipponen, Alexander Henn, Monika Österberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


Fabrication of spherical lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) is opening more application opportunities for lignin. However, dissolution of LNPs at a strongly alkaline pH or in common organic solvent systems has prevented their surface functionalization in a dispersion state as well as processing and applications that require maintaining the particle morphology under harsh conditions. Here, we report a simple method to stabilize LNPs through intraparticle cross-linking. Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), a cross-linker that, like lignin, contains substituted benzene rings, is coprecipitated with softwood Kraft lignin to form hybrid LNPs (hy-LNPs). The hy-LNPs with a BADGE content ≤20 wt % could be intraparticle cross-linked in the dispersion state without altering their colloidal stability. Atomic force microscopy and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring were used to show that the internally cross-linked particles were resistant to dissolution under strongly alkaline conditions and in acetone-water binary solvent that dissolved unmodified LNPs entirely. We further demonstrated covalent surface functionalization of the internally cross-linked particles at pH 12 through an epoxy ring-opening reaction to obtain particles with pH-switchable surface charge. Moreover, the hy-LNPs with BADGE content ≥30% allowed both inter- and intraparticle cross-linking at >150 °C, which enabled their application as waterborne wood adhesives with competitive dry/wet adhesive strength (5.4/3.5 MPa).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4811-4823
Number of pages13
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Early online date17 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • colloidal lignin particle
  • covalent surface functionalization
  • hybrid lignin nanoparticle
  • interparticle cross-linking
  • intraparticle cross-linking
  • lignin-epoxy adhesive


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