What if metals could be protected with wood?
Lignin is the second-most abundant organic polymer on earth, found in wood and some types of algae. Naturally brown in color, lignin is also a byproduct of the existing pulp and paper industries. The total amount of lignin fabrication is around 100 million tons per year globally – it would fill up the Messukeskus complex over 80 times. Unfortunately, less than 2% of this amount is currently used for value-added products. Industrial coatings to stop rust and corrosion contain many different functional chemical additives. In its pure, additive-free form, lignin coatings have already been proven to be effective in minimising the corrosion of metal surfaces. By adding functional additives to the lignin we can improve its performance even further. And since it is 100% organic, lignin has real potential to replace toxic synthetic paints now used in heavy metal industries.
Benjamin P. Wilson, staff scientist
Arman Dastpak, PhD student
Mari Lundström, assistant professor