Rigid Oligomer from Lignin in Designing of Tough, Self-Healing Elastomers

Mengmeng Cui, Ngoc A. Nguyen, Peter V. Bonnesen, David Uhrig, Jong K. Keum, Amit K. Naskar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Converting lignin into well-defined compounds is often challenged by structural complexation and inorganic contamination induced by the pulping process. In this report, instead of breaking down lignin into small molecules, we extracted a uniform and rigid oligomer from the lignin waste stream. The multifunctional polyphenol oligomer containing carboxylic acid, alcohol, and phenol groups is highly reactive and brings stiffness into the material matrix. Tough and self-healing elastomers are economically prepared from this oligomer by a reaction with epoxy-terminated polyethylene glycol, without needing any solvent. Specifically, the polyaromatic backbone's rigidity enhances the elastomer's toughness, and the multiple polar substituents form a network of hydrogen bonding that heals the elastomer. Many other applications, including adhesives, hydrogels, coating, and metal scavengers, are envisioned based on this oligomer's unique properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1328-1332
Number of pages5
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 20 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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