Polymeric Structure of Spruce Lignin

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Science  09 Oct 1970:
Vol. 170, Issue 3954, pp. 173-176
DOI: 10.1126/science.170.3954.173


From the Flory-Stockmayer theory and molecular weights of successive fractions of lignin obtained by extraction of spruce wood with a mixture of water, dioxane, and hydrochloric acid and by sulfonation, the average length of the primary chains was estimated to be 18 phenylpropane units. From data on the acid-catalyzed cleavage of model compounds in various solvents the degrees of cross-linking in four extraction processes were calculated. The average degree of cross-linking of intact lignin was found to be 0.277; that is, 5 out of every 18 phenylpropane units bear cross-linking benzyl ether groups. Of the five, three are also etherified at their phenolic ends (B groups), and two are not (X groups).