Functional surfaces, films, and coatings with lignin – a critical review
Lignin is the most abundant polyaromatic biopolymer. Due to its rich and versatile chemistry, many applications have been proposed, which include the formulation of functional coatings and films. In addition to replacing fossil-based polymers, the lignin biopolymer can be part of new material solutions. Functionalities may be added, such as UV-blocking, oxygen scavenging, antimicrobial, and barrier properties, which draw on lignin's intrinsic and unique features. As a result, various applications have been proposed, including polymer coatings, adsorbents, paper-sizing additives, wood veneers, food packaging, biomaterials, fertilizers, corrosion inhibitors, and antifouling membranes. Today, technical lignin is produced in large volumes in the pulp and paper industry, whereas even more diverse products are prospected to be available from future biorefineries. Developing new applications for lignin is hence paramount – both from a technological and economic point of view. This review article is therefore summarizing and discussing the current research-state of functional surfaces, films, and coatings with lignin, where emphasis is put on the formulation and application of such solutions.