Highly active molecular catalysts for olefin polymerization are extremely difficult to run in high-throughput experimentation (HTE) platforms. With common activators like methylaluminoxane (MAO) or a combination of tri-iso-butylaluminum and trityl tetrakis(perfluorophenyl)borate (TIBA/TTB), the necessary downscaling ends up with (sub)nanomole precatalyst loadings and poorly reproducible results due to the presence of adventitious impurities in similar amounts. Unexpectedly, we have now discovered that a convenient solution to this problem is provided by TIBA/AB (AB = N,N-dimethylanilinium tetrakis(perfluorophenyl)borate), a long-known but relatively uncommon protic activator. Indeed, with a proper operating protocol, a tunable precatalyst activation delay (minutes to hours) can be achieved, and even at high (≥10 nmol) catalyst loadings, a transient phase of well-controlled activity can be maintained long enough to produce the polymer amounts necessary for the characterizations under highly reproducible conditions. Importantly, polymer properties were not affected by choice of the activator, provided that the polymerization was kinetically controlled, which makes TIBA/AB the best option for HTE screenings of industrially relevant catalysts.

High-Throughput Experimentation in Olefin Polymerization Catalysis: Facing the Challenges of Miniaturization

Ehm C.
;
Vittoria A.;Zaccaria F.;Cipullo R.;Busico V.
2020

Abstract

Highly active molecular catalysts for olefin polymerization are extremely difficult to run in high-throughput experimentation (HTE) platforms. With common activators like methylaluminoxane (MAO) or a combination of tri-iso-butylaluminum and trityl tetrakis(perfluorophenyl)borate (TIBA/TTB), the necessary downscaling ends up with (sub)nanomole precatalyst loadings and poorly reproducible results due to the presence of adventitious impurities in similar amounts. Unexpectedly, we have now discovered that a convenient solution to this problem is provided by TIBA/AB (AB = N,N-dimethylanilinium tetrakis(perfluorophenyl)borate), a long-known but relatively uncommon protic activator. Indeed, with a proper operating protocol, a tunable precatalyst activation delay (minutes to hours) can be achieved, and even at high (≥10 nmol) catalyst loadings, a transient phase of well-controlled activity can be maintained long enough to produce the polymer amounts necessary for the characterizations under highly reproducible conditions. Importantly, polymer properties were not affected by choice of the activator, provided that the polymerization was kinetically controlled, which makes TIBA/AB the best option for HTE screenings of industrially relevant catalysts.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/821912
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