Catalysis is a major domain of research activity in the PE industry and one of the primary ways Univation delivers competitive advantage to UNIPOL™ PE Process licensees.

Over the years, polymerization of catalysts for the production of polyethylene has undergone a dramatic evolution. Starting in the 1930s and ‘40s, the first low-density polyethylene resins were produced in high-pressure reactors using free radical catalysts that produced large quantities of long chain branching. In the 1950s, Ziegler-Natta and chromium-based catalysts were introduced to make high-density polyethylene resins in low pressure, liquid-phase processes. Improvements in these catalysts continued through the 1970s. In the late 1960s, Union Carbide learned how to use the Ziegler-Natta and chromium-based catalysts in the gas-phase to produce high-density polyethylene resins. In the late 1970s, Union Carbide also learned how to make linear low-density polyethylenes.

Catalyst Evolution Timeline

In the first half of the 1990s, revolutionary new single-site metallocene catalysts were developed for use in the UNIPOL™ PE Gas Phase Process. The catalyst business was consolidated in 1997 when Univation was formed as a joint venture between Exxon Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corporation. In May 2016, Univation became a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.

Continuous Development

Univation’s researchers have developed the extraordinary capability to produce PE resins with bimodal property attributes, but made on a single UNIPOL™ PE Process reactor, replacing the need for more costly- to- produce two reactor configurations.

Metallocene catalysts produce high performance (HPR) and easy processing (EZP) mLLDPE resins. These metallocene catalyzed PE resins offer superior product properties from toughness to clarity to improved processability for end-use products that stand out.

Today, Ziegler-Natta, chromium, metallocene and engineered bimodal catalysts are all available to you through Univation.

Univation's catalyst developments continue to expand the range of differentiated product opportunities.

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