Chemical composition distribution study in ethylene/1-hexene copolymerization to produce LLDPE material using MgCl2-TiCl4-based Ziegler-Natta catalysts



The characteristic features of LLDPE polymerization with ZN catalyst are the time drift effect during polymerization and the bending effect when trying to decrease density of the copolymer by adding more comonomer to the polymerization. The time drift in LLDPE polymerization is revealed by a constant decrease of comonomer incorporation during polymerization time. The bending is revealed by difficulties in lowering the density of LLDPE material below the density of 920 kg/m3. With increasing comonomer content during polymerization, the density does not decrease, but the soluble fraction increases. To try to observe if these phenomena are connected, two types of catalysts, SiO2 supported and precipitated MgCl2 ZN catalysts, were studied. A short time (10 min) and an extended time (60 min) copolymerization test series where the polymerizations were performed in the presence of a gradually increasing comonomer amount. Both catalysts show a strong bending when density is presented as a function of 1-hexene both in 10- and 60-min polymerization, indicating no connection between time drift and bending. The density, melting point, and crystallinity results all indicate that both catalysts are making similar copolymer material with identical chemical composition distribution. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010