Date of Award

Winter 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Joan Lynam


The molecular weight of lignin helps us to determine how lignin can be applied accurately in industry. The molecular weight can predict the behavior of lignin, and how it will function when combined with other materials. This thesis discusses how the molecular weight of lignin can be found with gel permeation chromatography (GPC) after acetylation with acetic anhydride and pyridine. Different lignins gave different number average molecular weight and weight average molecular weight values, which were likely due to the biomass source, type of extraction and solubility in the solvent of choice. How the structure of lignin changed after derivatization was investigated using infrared spectroscopy. The extraction of lignin, including yields and purities, from various biomass sources using different deep eutectic solvents (DES) was also studied. Using bomb calorimetry, the fuel value of lignin extracted with DES from various biomass sources was also explored to determine the best method to obtain lignin-derived fuels.