Lignin-based smart materials: a roadmap to processing and synthesis for current and future applications
Biomass-derived materials are green alternatives to synthetic plastics and other fossil-based materials. Lignin, an aromatic plant polymer, is one of the most appealing renewable material precursors for smart materials capable of responding to different stimuli. Here we review lignin-based smart materials, a research field that has seen a rapid growth during the last five years. We describe the main processing and chemical synthesis routes available for the fabrication of lignin-based smart materials, and focus on their use as sensors, biomedical systems, and shape-programmable materials. In addition to benchmarking their performance to the state of the art fossil counterparts, we identify challenges and future opportunities for the development of lignin-based smart materials towards new high-performance applications.