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Keywords:

  • ethylene polymerization;
  • metallocene catalyst;
  • polyolefin nanocomposites;
  • clays

Abstract

Catalytic activity during the formation of polyethylene (PE)/clay nanocomposites by in situ polymerization with metallocenes was studied. Ethylene polymerization was carried out with the homogeneous metallocene in the presence of the clay particles and using the clay-supported metallocene catalyst. It was found that the catalytic activity of the homogeneous metallocene does not decrease in the presence of the clay particles and only a slight decrease of activity occurs using the clay-supported catalyst. The modification of the clay with MAO cocatalyst as well as its intercalation with ODA surfactant were found to play an important role during the in situ formation of the PE/clay nanocomposite. ODA-intercalated clay apparently facilitates the activation and monomer insertion processes on zirconocene centers located in internal sites of the clay structure. Although metallocene supported on MAO-treated clay exhibited somewhat lower catalytic activity than that supported directly on the ODA-intercalated clay, both systems favored the production of PE nanocomposites containing highly exfoliated clay particles. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009