NexantECA, the Energy and Chemicals Advisory company publishes a new report on Metallocene LLDPE
Polyethylene manufacturing processes continue to evolve through technological evolution. The polymerization processes have been updated to expand their product range, increase operating efficiency, and reduce investment costs.
A further significant expansion of the technology suite available to producers is the enhancement of metallocene catalyst technology. This has provided product enhancement with a wide range of improved product capabilities.
The traditional catalyst technology employed for polyethylene production consisted of titanium-based Ziegler-Natta (ZN) catalysts. With the development of metallocene catalysts, producers have been able to take advantage of a range of new opportunities. Firstly, they were able to generate products with improved performance compared to existing materials. An example would be LLDPE made from butene-1 via a metallocene catalyst as compared to a traditional butene-1 linear low-density polyethylene. These performance benefits were generated largely due to metallocene based materials having a narrower molecular weight distribution in the polymer and also by achieving a more even distribution of the comonomer.
Secondly, as a result of metallocene technology, new products were made possible such as the polyolefin elastomers. These are generated through polymerization of ethylene with higher levels than normal of comonomer giving rise to materials with lower density than usual down to 0.860 g/cm3. These metallocene derived elastomers, introduced initially by ExxonMobil and Down Chemical are used in much lower volumes than the more conventional polyethylenes and have a wide range of performance characteristics. Note that metallocene elastomers are not discussed further in this report but in a sperate NexantECA Market Insights report: Polyolefin Elastomers.
Metallocene catalysts continue to undergo development and a wide rage of ligands transitions metals, and activation systems are possible. The core developments of metallocene catalysts is the ability to the five membered ring to provide the means for polymerizing ethylene is a controlled manner. These include bridged and unbridged cyclopentadiene ligands and titanium zirconium and hafnium as the transition metal component. Metallocene catalysts have now moved in to third generation development.
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This report titled Market Insights: Metallocene LLDPE - 2021 provides a regional analysis, plus China of the mLLDPE market with demand forecasts by end-use to 2035. Pricing forecasts are also included with a cost competitiveness analysis for 2021.
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