Document Type: Review
Laboratorium für Anorganische Chemie Universität Bayreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
EEthylene polymerization catalysts became available in an enormous variety. The challenge in this research is to find catalysts that are able to connect ethylene molecules in such a way that not only linear chains are produced but variations like branched materials that possess very interesting mechanical properties like linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). In this contribution, three different types of catalysts are presented that are able to do not only one job at a time but three. These are “intelligent catalysts”. Catalysts of type 1 are homogeneous metallocene complexes that can be activated with methylaluminoxane (MAO).With ethylene they produce their own support and they become heterogeneous catalysts (self-immobilization) and they prevent fouling in polymerization reactors. The produced resin has evenly distributed ethyl branches (without a comonomer) with unique properties and the MAO that is necessary in the activation step can be recycled. Catalysts of type 2 are dinuclear complexes with two different active sites. One centre can oligomerize ethylene and the other one can copolymerize the in statu nascendi produced oligomers with ethylene to give branched LLDPE (a molecule as the smallest reactor for LLDPE) and/or bimodal resins.
Catalysts of type 3 are MAO activated iron di (imino) pyridine complexes that are able to oligomerize ethylene to give not only oligomers with even numbered carbon atoms but also odd numbered ones. In this reaction, one catalyst does three jobs at a time: oligomerization, isomerization and metathesis of ethylene.