Polyolefin Characterization: Recent Advances in Separation Techniques

Published in: Advances in Polymer Science.
Polyolefins: 50 years after Ziegler and Natta I: Polyethylene and Polypropylene. Editor: (Ed. W. Kaminsky) Volume 216, 2013, Pages 203-251.
Author: B. Monrabal.
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New polyolefin resins, in spite of their simple chemistry, just carbon and hydrogen atoms, have become by design complex polymers with improved performance for the desired application. Besides the fundamental molar mass distribution, there are many other features that can be controlled when dealing with copolymers and new multireactor/multicatalyst resins. The average properties measured by spectroscopic techniques are not enough to define the microstructure of the new resins; it is necessary to fractionate the polymer according to certain parameters such as molar mass, branching, or stereoregularity. Separation techniques have become essential for the control and characterization of these polymers; nevertheless, full characterization is not a simple task and has demanded the development of new separation methodologies in recent years, and in many cases multiple separation techniques are required to define the microstructure. A review of the most important separation techniques with emphasis on the new technologies is given and the applications of these new polyolefin resins discussed.

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