A Simple and Rapid Method to Determine Sulfonation Degree of Lignosulfonates

  • Qi Li
  • Meijun Zeng
  • Duming Zhu
  • Hongming LouEmail author
  • Yuxia Pang
  • Kexian Qiu
  • Jinhao Huang
  • Xueqing Qiu


Sulfonation degree is an important structural parameter of lignosulfonates which affect their water solubility, surface activity, and dispersing performance. Presently, the methods for determining sulfonation degree include elemental analysis and potentiometric titration; they have some shortcomings such as complex purification process, high equipment requirements, and time-consuming. Hence, a simple and rapid method to determine the sulfonation degree of lignosulfonates was proposed based on the electrostatic interaction between cationic surfactant (hexadecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB)) and anionic lignosulfonates. CTAB was added and co-precipitated with lignosulfonates and then the ultraviolet absorbance of the supernatant was determined. The sulfonation degree of lignosulfonates was calculated according to the titration curve of the supernatant absorbance to the amount of CTAB. This method is applicable to lignosulfonates recovered from acid pulping as well as sulfonation products of alkali lignin. Because of the easy operation process and no purification process for lignosulfonates, this method was simple and rapid when compared to existing methods for sulfonation degree determination of lignosulfonates.


Sulfonation degree determination CTAB Sodium lignosulfonates Electrostatic interaction 


Funding information

The authors acknowledge the financial supports of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21676109, 21878112), Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou (201707020025), Guangdong Special Support Plan (2016TX03Z298), and Science and Technology Program of Guangdong (2017B090903003).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qi Li
    • 1
  • Meijun Zeng
    • 1
  • Duming Zhu
    • 1
  • Hongming Lou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yuxia Pang
    • 1
  • Kexian Qiu
    • 1
  • Jinhao Huang
    • 1
  • Xueqing Qiu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center for Green Fine ChemicalsSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper EngineeringSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina

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