Judicious reduction of supported Ti catalyst enables access to disentangled ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene

TitleJudicious reduction of supported Ti catalyst enables access to disentangled ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGote, RP, Mandal, D, Patel, K, Chaudhuri, K, Vinod, CP, Lele, AK, Chikkali, SH
Date PublishedJUN

Heterogeneous Ziegler-Natta and homogeneous metallocene catalysts are known to produce ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) in the entangled state. On the other hand, only (two) homogeneous single-site catalysts are reported to yield disentangled UHMWPE (dis-UHMWPE). This disparity between the two types of catalysts and the two states of polyethylene can be bridged if a heterogeneous single-site catalyst that can yield dis-UHMWPE is made accessible. Here, one-pot two-step synthesis of a MgCl2 supported [Ti(OEt)(4)] derived catalyst 1 with a two-stage activation strategy is reported to produce dis-UHMWPE. Second activation of catalyst 1 was performed by adding excess modified methylaluminoxane (MMAO12), and XPS analysis indicated that the catalyst existed in only Ti(III) state at [A1]/[Ti] ratio of 600. Catalyst 1 after second activation with MMAO12 was found to be highly active in ethylene polymerization and produced dis-UHMWPE. Polymerization conditions were tailored to obtain molecular weight (M-w) as high as 13 million g/mol PE. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a heterogeneous catalyst (catalyst 1) that displays pseudosingle site nature is able to produce dis-UHMWPE. The thus-prepared nascent polyethylene revealed a melting temperature of 141-144 degrees C, which is a characteristic melting transition for a dis-UHMVVPE. The disentangled state of the nascent PE and its M-w and MVVD were further authenticated by rheological investigations. Isothermal time, sweep oscillatory experiments in linear viscoelastic limit revealed a rapid rise in elastic modulus followed by equilibration to plateau modulus, which are characteristic features of the disentangled state. Thus, a pseudo-singlesite heterogeneous catalyst has been accessed, which upon second activation with excess MMAO12 led to the production of dis-UHMWPE.

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Divison category: 
Catalysis and Inorganic Chemistry
Polymer Science & Engineering