Disassociated molecular orientation distributions of a composite cellulose–lignin carbon fiber precursor: A study by rotor synchronized NMR spectroscopy and X-ray scattering
Journal article, 2021

Cellulose–lignin composite carbon fibers have shown to be a potential environmentally benign alternative to the traditional polyacrylonitrile precursor. With the associated cost reduction, cellulose–lignin carbon fibers are an attractive light-weight material for, e.g. wind power and automobile manufacturing. The carbon fiber tenacity, tensile modulus and creep resistance is in part determined by the carbon content and the molecular orientation distribution of the precursor. This work disassociates the molecular orientation of different components in cellulose–lignin composite fibers using rotor-synchronized solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray scattering. Our results show that lignin is completely disordered, in a mechanically stretched cellulose–lignin composite fiber, while the cellulose is ordered. In contrast, the native spruce wood raw material displays both oriented lignin and cellulose. The current processes for fabricating a cellulose–lignin composite fiber cannot regain the oriented lignin as observed from the native wood.


Molecular orientation distribution

Solid-state NMR

X-ray scattering

Carbon fibers


Regenerated cellulose

Rotor synchronized magic-angle spinning




Leo Svenningsson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Lars Evenäs Group

Jenny Bengtsson

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Kerstin Jedvert

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Werner Schlemmer

Technische Universität Graz

Hans Theliander

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology, Forest Products and Chemical Engineering

Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC)

Lars Evenäs

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Lars Evenäs Group

Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC)

Carbohydrate Polymers

0144-8617 (ISSN)

Vol. 254 117293

Subject Categories

Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology

Polymer Technologies

Composite Science and Engineering





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