In October, 1953 an experiment was carried out in the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr, that even today has a huge influence on the chemical industry: the catalytic polymerization of ethylene under normal pressure carried out with what at the time was known as the Mülheim mixed catalyst. The story of what is know known as the Ziegler catalyst reveals its discovery to be the result of the meticulous analysis of apparently failed experiments.
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