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Master Thesis: Optimization of size-exclusion chromatography for lignin analysis

RISE is the Swedish Research Institute and innovation partner. In international collaboration with industry, academia and the public sector, we ensure the competitiveness of the business community and contribute to a sustainable society. Our 2,700 employees support and promote all manner of innovative processes. RISE is an independent, state-owned research institute that offers unique expertise and about 100 testbeds and demonstration facilities, instrumental in future-proofing technologies, products and services. www.ri.se

Project goal

To investigate and optimize the characterization of lignin relative molar mass by size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) employing different parameters.


Wood consists of about 30% lignin. During kraft pulping the lignin is to a large extent dissolved into the cooking liquor. Today this so-called kraft lignin is considered a highly interesting raw material for development of bio-based materials and chemicals. The isolation of lignin from the cooking liquor can be done by different processes, resulting in lignins with different properties, for example different molar mass and molar mass distribution. These properties in turn have a large influence on the suitablility of lignins for different applications.

The most widely used method for determining lignin molar mass is size-exclusion chromatography, SEC. This technique is indirect and gives the molar mass relative to a certain calibration. Furthermore, the result is to a large extent affected by different method parameters, such as choice of columns, moblie phase, pretreatment technique and instrumental settings.

In this work the influence of different method parameters on the results from SEC on selected softwood and hardwood kraft lignin samples will be studied, and an optimized method will be suggested.


  • Brief literature study
  • Optimization of SEC on softwood and hardwood kraft lignin by varying e.g. pretreatment method, choice of columns, temperature and mobile phase velocit
  • Report writing
  • Project presentations at KTH and RISE Innventia


Necessary equipment for size-exclusion chromatography and other work will be supplied by RISE Innventia.

Final application date: 31/3 2019.


Jerk Rönnols, RISE Bioeconomy 08-676 71 24

Anna Jacobs RISE Bioekonomi 08-676 71 52

Union representatives: Anna Jensen (Unionen), 08-676 72 23 and Elisabeth Sjöholm (Sveriges Ingenjörer), 08-676 74 44.

Master Thesis, lignin, wood, RISE, Bioeconomy





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