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Polypropylene Production via Gas-Phase Process

By Chemical Engineering |

   Polypropylene (PP) is one of the world’s most widely used polymers, second only to polyethylene in terms of global demand. The global market for polypropylene is over 60 million metric tons per year, and it is utilized in a broad and diverse range of end-uses — from injection-molding applications to films and sheets, as well as synthetic raffia and other fibers, among others. Traditionally, the most representative types of propylene polymerization are the following: hydrocarbon slurry or suspension, bulk (or bulk slurry), gas phase and hybrid (uses bulk- and gas-phase polymerization reactors). The Unipol PP process, a leading gas-phase process technology, was recently offered for sale by Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.; www.dow.com). The company is looking to focus on high-margin areas, and is seeking buyers for its polypropylene licensing and catalyst business.   The process PP is a thermoplastic material formed by the polymerization of propylene, resulting in a macromolecule that contains from 10,000 to 20,000 monomer units. The production of a polypropylene homopolymer via a gas-phase process similar to Dow Unipol is depicted in the diagram (Figure 1). The process shown is capable of producting homopolymer…
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