Multi-scale investigation of silica-supported ethylene polymerization catalysts during the early stages of the reaction
Promotor: Prof. Dr. ir. B. M. Weckhuysen, Co-Promotor: Dr. F. Meirer
Sponsor: Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI)
The goal of the project is to study Ziegler-Natta and metallocene-based polymerization catalysts in the early stages of the genesis of active sites and polymer formation. For this purpose, we make use of a multi-scale characterization approach under reaction conditions, which involves a range of spectroscopies and microscopies, employing light in a very large spectral range from hard X-rays to microwaves. By doing so we can obtain the properties of the catalyst material both at the atomic scale (molecular structure, composition and distribution of the active sites) and at the scale of the single polymerizing particle. The ultimate aim is to establish correlations between the macroscopic physical (e.g. mechanical strength, temperature gradients), macroscopic chemical (e.g. polymer composition, type, density) and nanoscopic chemical properties (e.g. oxidation state, coordination environment, ligand interaction) for the catalyst systems of interest. Within this research project, we also work together with the group of Professor Elena Groppo of the University of Torino (Italy).