German chemists come up with an environmentally friendly way to produce polyethylene

Scientists from the University of Constance have synthesized a catalyst based on nickel phosphine phenolate, which

provides polymerization of ethylene in an aqueous medium. The researchers reported their discovery in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

The researchers note that with the traditionalIn production, ethylene is polymerized in special organic solvents, which are replaced by water in further complex and energy-intensive processes. The new technology eliminates this phase. Using a catalyst, chemists produce small particles of polyethylene in high yield in water as the reaction medium. As a result, the production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) is ensured.

Image: Fei Lin, Universität Konstanz

Chemists note that when usingof the method of production proposed by them, polyethylene does not contain solvents and does not emit harmful substances when dried. During processing and curing, such plastic only evaporates water.

“We have developed water-soluble catalystsethylene polymerizations, which are not only stable, but also very active, although they are in direct contact with water throughout the entire chemical reaction, ”says Fei Ling, co-author of the study.

Scientists believe that the method they created opensnew opportunities for environmentally friendly polymerization processes in general and for the efficient production of solvent- and emission-free polyethylene coatings in particular. The researchers plan to continue working on the creation of environmentally friendly plastics.

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