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Technology Profile: Polychloroprene Production

By Intratec Solutions |

This column is based on the report “Polychloroprene Production – Cost Analysis,” published by Intratec. It can be found at the following URL: www.intratec.us/analysis/polychloroprene-production-cost. The need to find a substitute for natural rubber during World War II boosted the development of polychloroprene (chloroprene rubber), the first synthetic rubber produced industrially. Today, it is one of the most important special rubbers, alongside butyl rubber, nitrile rubber (NBR) and ethylene propylene diene rubber (EPDM). The process The following describes a process for polychloroprene production from butadiene and chlorine. Figure 1 presents a simplified flow diagram. Chlorination. In the first step, butadiene, chlorine, recycled butadiene and hydrochloric acid are mixed and fed to the chlorination reactor, where butadiene is chlorinated in the vapor phase. A large excess of butadiene is used to prevent the formation of super-chlorinated species during this reaction. The two main products of the chlorination are 1,4-dichloro-2-butene and 3,4-dichloro-1-butene. Isomerization. An isomerization step is used to convert 1,4-dichloro-2-butene into 3,4-dichloro-1-butene (the precursor to chloroprene). The isomerization is…
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