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Master Thesis: Solid-state NMR analysis of kraft lignins and lignin-based carbon fibres

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. 


The aim of this project proposal for the master degree thesis is to utilize the solid-state NMR spectroscopy for analyzing the kraft lignins and if possible also lignin-based carbon fibres.


An increasing concern for sustainability of natural resources and preservation of environment are distinguished. Thus, for production of variety of materials, the usage of environmentally friendly, biodegradable and renewable polymers, such as the polymers originating from the forestry instead of polymers originating from the fossil resources, is required. Lignin is one of the most present polymers in wood. It can be used for production of diversity of beneficial materials. There is ongoing research concerning the kraft lignins isolation and their structure, as well as the conversion of these lignins into higher-valuable products and their structure.

In order to be able to control the quality of these materials, the analyzing techniques are required. The NMR spectroscopy, such as liquide-state 1H, 13C or 31P, is a useful technique when analyzing the chemical structure of lignins. As known, all lignins are not always easy to dissolve in organic solvents. Thus, analyzing of lignins and lignin-based carbon fibres, in their original solid-state, can be beneficial. The solid-state NMR spectroscopy is commonly used for studying the structure of solid materials. At our institute, the existing solid-state NMR spectroscopy system is frequently used for analyzing the supramolecular structure of cellulose-based materials and not for analyzing of lignin-based materials. In order to improve our analyzing capabilities, the solid-state NMR measuring methods for analyzing the kraft lignins and lignin-based carbon fibres should be implemented.


In order to utilize the solid-state NMR spectroscopy for analyzing the structure of kraft lignins and if possible also lignin-based carbon fibres, the operative measuring methods will be implement on our existing solid-state NMR system (i.e. CP/MAS 13C NMR; cross-polarization/magic-angle spinning, carbon 13, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscope). The few suitable methods will be selected from the literature and briefly described. The measuring possibilities of chosen methods will be motivated and analyzing possibilities of lignin structure will be specified. These will finally be tested on some kraft lignins (i.e. SKL and HKL) and lignin-based carbon fibres produced at our institute. The accepted measuring method/methods will be adjusted for further usage and documented, where the acquisition and process parameters will be specified.

Some other analyzing techniques for studying the solid-state materials, such as ATR FTIR spectroscopy will be used for comparison.

The project will provide you an understanding in how to distinguish suitable measuring methods from literature and how to utilize the chosen methods in analyzing the structures of desired materials; in this case the kraft lignins and if possible also lignin-based carbon fibres.

A suitable background is theoretical knowledge in analytical chemistry/organic chemistry/wood chemistry. An interest in experimental work is vital.

Final application date: 31/3 2019.

Anna Jacobs +46 8 676 7152
Jasna Stevanic Srndovic +46 8 676 7225

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

Master Thesis, NMR, lignin, analytical chemistry, organic, wood, RISE, Bioeconomy





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