Grafting of lignin onto nanostructured silica SBA-15: preparation and characterization
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- Saad, R. & Hawari, J. J Porous Mater (2013) 20: 227. doi:10.1007/s10934-012-9592-z
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The slow decline in oil reserves with mounting oil prices is pushing industry to find more sustainable sources for industrial manufacturing. Lignin is the second most abundant natural renewable biopolymer that is underutilized and has many functional groups (–OH, phenolics) that make the biopolymer a convenient substrate for materials manufacturing by the industry. The present study thus describes grafting of lignin onto nanostructured silica SBA-15 (Santa Barbara amorphous 15) by first silylating lignin with triethoxychlorosilane followed by treatment of silylated lignin with SBA-15. The resulting nanocomposite denoted as LIG–SBA-15-G was then characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, infra-red (FTIR), 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (31P NMR), N2 adsorption (BET), scanning and transmission electron micrographs (SEM and TEM) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). X-ray data showed that LIG–SBA-15-G exhibited hexagonal structure closely similar to that observed for the SBA-15 host. FTIR of LIG–SBA-15-G showed characteristic absorption bands from lignin and attenuated Si–OH band due to its conversion to Si–O–Si ether bonds. Whereas, 31P NMR revealed that the majority of hydroxyl groups in lignin were replaced by Si–O–LIG ether bonds in LIG–SBA-15-G. SEM images of LIG–SBA-15-G displayed little changes in the macroscopic structure as compared to SBA-15. TEM images showed some disordered area in LIG–SBA-15-G and the grafted lignin appeared as black film on the silica surface. Using BET analysis the surface area of LIG–SBA-15-G was found to be 560 m2 g−1. Finally, TGA showed that LIG–SBA-15-G was more thermally stable than lignin and contained 13 % w/w lignin. Understanding the physicochemical and structural properties of the resulting lignin-nanosilica hybrid material should help engineer a robust and sustainable biomaterial suitable for various application, e.g. removal of contaminants from contaminated water.