Document Type: Review
Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Hamburg Bundesstr. 45, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
Beside Ziegler-Natta and Phillips catalysts the development of methylaluminoxane (MAO) as cocatalyst in combination with metallocenes or other transition metal complexes for the polymerization of olefins has widely increased the possibilities in controlling the polymer composition, polymer structure, tacticity and special properties with high precision. These catalysts allow the synthesis of isotactic, isoblock, syndiotactic, stereoblockor atactic polymers, as well as polyolefin composite materials with superior properties such as film clarity, tensile strength and lower content of extractables. Metallocene and other single site catalysts are able to copolymerize ethene and propene with short and long chained a-olefins, cyclic olefins, or polar vinyl monomers such as ethers, alcohols or esters, especially, if the polar monomers are protected by aluminum alkyls. Different vinyl ethers such as vinyl-ethyl ether, vinyl-propyl ether, vinyl-hexyl ether, and 2,7-octadienyl methyl ether (MODE) were copolymerized with olefins using triisobutyl aluminum as protecting agents. Polar monomers could be incorporated into the polymer chain by up to 16 mol%. Such copolymers show better gas barrier and surface properties, as well as solvent resistance and they are suitable for blends of polyolefins with polyethers and other polar polymers because of an excellent adhesion of the two polymers.