Organosolv wheat straw lignin extracted using the CIMV processTM is a linear, low molecular weight, and natural phenolic oligomer. In this study, organosolv wheat straw lignin was tested as a substitute for 50% to 70% of the phenol in a phenol-formaldehyde-resol resin. The lignin was used without any chemical modification in a one-step synthesis reaction. Parameters such as reaction time and formaldehyde-to-phenol sources (phenol + lignin) mass ratios were optimized to achieve the requirements for industrial wood adhesives in terms of pH, viscosity, and dry matter.
For the first time, the formaldehyde ratio was studied in order to reduce resin residual free formaldehyde below 1%. Lignin-phenol-formaldehyde resins were successfully synthesized up to a phenol substitution rate of 70% and showed physico-chemical properties close to standard phenol-formaldehyde resins. The thermo-mechanical properties analyzed in dynamic load thermo mechanical analysis were similar to those of the reference resins.
Plywood panels manufactured using these lignin-based resins reached the specifications for industrial panels according to the French standard for exterior plywood panels. Moreover, the formaldehyde content of these plywoods was low enough to satisfy even the most rigorous legislation.