Organic transformation of lignin into mussel-inspired glues: next-generation 2K adhesive for setting corals under saltwater

 New Paper released in Green Chemistry.

Background: The activation of lignin crosslinked with multi-thiol via thiol-catechol-connectivity (TCC) has led to the development of mussel-inspired and high-performing 2K adhesives that are ideal for setting corals in saltwater environments.

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Abstract: The 2-methoxyphenol units (G-units) in lignin are modified by demethylation and oxidation to provide the activated lignin as one part of an advanced biobased two-component (2K) adhesive system, which exhibits promising shear strengths in dry and underwater applications. The activation of lignin is straightforward and generates quinones via demethylation and periodate oxidation. These act as Michael acceptors and react smoothly with multi-thiol-star polymers to yield thiol-catechol connectivities (TCCs). The mussel-inspired material platform acts as a very robust and versatile adhesive, combining low-cost and readily available lignin with multi-thiols to achieve outstanding adhesion strengths of up to 15 MPa in dry application. In particular, the 2K system is compatible with the marine biological environment and shows no acute toxicity to sensitive organisms such as fish eggs. Thus, one possible application of this material could be an adhesive for setting temperature-resistant corals in damaged reefs.