High-pressure synthesis of crystalline polyethylene using optical catalysis Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/6737-9531-7110-8015-CC

in language

  • eng

year of publication

  • 2004

abstract

  • Polymerization processes are probably the most relevant example of a chemical reaction activated by catalysts or radical initiators. Among polymers, polyethylene is by far the most common and largely produced. Here we present a high-pressure synthesis of high-density crystalline polyethylene by using only physical tools such as pressure and light. Low-density polyethylene is obtained by compressing ethylene at room temperature above 3 GPa in the ordered crystal phase, and a highly crystalline polymer is produced in the fluid phase at pressures lower than 1 GPa by using continuous-wave laser lines (lambdaless than or equal to460 nm) as an optical catalyst. The photo-activation is based on a two-photon absorption process to pi* antibonding states, where the change in molecular geometry favours the polymeric chain formation. The high yield and crystallinity of the polymer recovered by the photoinduced reaction and the simplicity of the synthesis make this process appealing for large-scale applications.

volume

  • 3

issue

  • 7