On the Way to Improve the Environmental Benignity of Chemical Processes: Novel Catalysts for a Polymerization Process
An example for a process that can, in principle, be improved by the application of a catalyst is the synthesis of poly(2-methyl-propene)s (“polyisobutenes”), which are important for numerous industrial applications. Each year several 100,000 t are produced. The production of low-molecular weight polyisobutenes by means of cationic initiation by an excess of Lewis acids is well established. Typically, these initiators require the usage of solvents like chloroform, dichloromethane and ethylene and temperatures far below 0 °C (–100 °C in the case of ethylene as solvent). Solvent stabilized transition metal complexes with weakly coordinating counter anions overcome these drawbacks and thus are not only more efficient, but also more environmentally benign: they can be applied at ambient temperature and in non chlorinated solvents at low concentrations.
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