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Comment Business & Economics

Dow will commercialize its Olefin-Block Copolymers technology

By Chemical Engineering |

Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6894-531) will begin commercial-scale production of Infuse olefin-block copolymers (OBCs), using its Insite technology, in the third quarter of 2007. The company recently completed a trial manufacturing run of OBCs at the plant, which is located in Freeport, Tex. Infuse OBCs constitute a new family of olefin elastomers that deliver improved properties over conventional olefinic elastomers, according to Dow. They incorporate both high melting temperatures and low glass-transition temperatures, plus better abrasion resistance and enhanced processing capabilities, such as faster set-up, for reduced cycle times. The OBCs are produced by Dow’s Catalytic Block Technology, which uses two catalysts with different monomer selectivities in a single reactor (diagram). Initially, the plant will make a family of ethylene-octene copolymers, using zirconium- and hafnium-based catalysts. The former catalyst readily incorporates ethylene, but not octene, while the latter readily incorporates both monomers, says Luis Cirihal, business development manager for Infuse OBCs. The catalysts operate in tandem, and a chain-shuttling agent transfers the growing chains between them. This arrangement…
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