AbstractThe conformations of a variety of crystalline lignin models representing different diastereomeric forms of structural elements in lignin of the arylglycerol b-guaiacyl ether type have been studied using X-ray crystallography. Based on X-ray crystallographic data, sequences of units attached to each other by b-guaiacyl ether linkages were constructed. The appearance of the resulting oligomers shows that stereoisomerism can be expected to influence the shape of the lignin molecules to a great extent. The constructed oligomers provide an idea about the contribution to the complexity of lignins by stereochemistry alone. It is proposed that structural differences, together with conformational variations, are the main reasons for the broadness of the signals in NMR spectra of lignins.