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Title:
METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF AN AROMATIC PHTHALIC BISIMIDE AND A POLYETHERIMIDE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/189314
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for producing an aromatic bisimide includes reacting a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound with a reactive substituted phthalimide under conditions effective to form a product mixture, introducing the product mixture to a liquid-liquid extraction column including an aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution, and recovering from the liquid-liquid extraction column a purified aromatic bisimide having less than 500 ppm of residual dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination including at least one of the foregoing. A method for the manufacture of a polyetherimide from an aromatic bisimide prepared by the above method is also disclosed. A polyetherimide having less than 100 ppb of residual bisphenol A and an article made therefrom are also described.

Inventors:
CROLL, Joshua McClellan (1 Lexan Lane, Mount Vernon, Indiana, 47620-9367, US)
ALJARRAH, Mohannad (1 Lexan Lane, Mount Vernon, Indiana, 47620-9367, US)
GUGGENHEIM, Thomas Link (1 Lexan Lane, Mount Vernon, Indiana, 47620-9367, US)
Application Number:
US2017/028541
Publication Date:
November 02, 2017
Filing Date:
April 20, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SABIC GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES B.V. (Plasticslaan 1, 4612 PX Bergen op Zoom, Zoom, NL)
CROLL, Joshua McClellan (1 Lexan Lane, Mount Vernon, Indiana, 47620-9367, US)
International Classes:
C07D209/48; B01D11/04; C08G73/10; C08L79/08
Domestic Patent References:
2009-11-26
2000-03-16
Foreign References:
US5132423A1992-07-21
US4404350A1983-09-13
Other References:
VARIOUS AUTHORS: "Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrail Chemistry 6th Edition", vol. 19, 2003, ISBN: 978-3-527-30673-2, pages: 673 - 726, XP002770559
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAGE, Samantha M. (Cantor Colburn LLP, 20 Church Street22nd Floo, Hartford Connecticut, 06103, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method for producing an aromatic bisimide, the method comprising

reacting a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound with a reactive substituted phthalimide under conditions effective to form a product mixture comprising at least one of the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and the aromatic bisimide;

introducing the product mixture to an agitated liquid-liquid extraction column with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to extract residual dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, and the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound from the product mixture; and

recovering from the liquid-liquid extraction column a purified aromatic bisimide having less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising, prior to introducing the product mixture to the liquid-liquid extraction column, adding water to the product mixture and separating the product mixture into an aqueous phase and an organic phase comprising the aromatic bisimide, and introducing the organic phase to the liquid-liquid extraction column.

3. The method of claim 1 or 2, wherein the product mixture comprises the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the aromatic bisimide, and, optionally, an alkali metal salt, preferably an alkali metal nitrite, an alkali metal halide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

4. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 3, wherein the introducing is a continuous process.

5. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 4, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is a continuous liquid-liquid extraction column.

6. The method of any one of more of claims 1 to 3, wherein the introducing is a batch process.

7. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 6, wherein the agitation is mechanical agitation.

8. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 7, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is operated at a temperature of 70 to 100°C, preferably 75 to 85°C, and a pressure 0.05 to 20 atm, preferably 0.05 to 1.5 atm.

9. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 8, wherein

the dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound is of the formula

M+O-Z-0 +M;

the reactive substituted phthalimide is of the formula

the mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound is of the formula

the aromatic bisimide is of the formula

wherein in the foregoing formulas,

M is an alkali metal ion; Z is an aromatic C6-24 monocyclic or polycyclic moiety optionally substituted with 1 to 6 Ci-8 alkyl groups, 1 to 8 halogen atoms, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing,

X is fluoro, chloro, bromo, iodo, nitro, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and

R1 is a monovalent Ci-13 organic group.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein

M is sodium;

Z is a divalent group of the formula

wherein Q is -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -S02-, -SO-, -P(Ra)(=0)- wherein Ra is a Ci-s alkyl or C6-12 aryl, or -CyH2y- wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5 or a halogenated derivative thereof, preferably wherein Z is 2,2-(4-phenylene)isopropylidene; and

X is nitro and R1 is a C1-4 alkyl, preferably methyl.

11. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 10, wherein the reactive substituted phthalimide comprises 4-nitro-N-methylphthalimide, 3-nitro-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

12. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 11, wherein the aromatic bisimide comprises 4,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N- methylphthalimide, 3,3'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

13. The method of any one or more of claims 1 to 12, wherein the product mixture further comprises at least one of

residual reactive substituted phthalimide or a derivative thereof;

a nonpolar organic solvent, preferably wherein the nonpolar organic solvent is toluene; or

a phase transfer catalyst, preferably wherein the phase transfer catalyst is a hexaalkylguanidinium salt, more preferably wherein the phase transfer catalyst is

hexaethylguanidinium chloride.

14. An aromatic bisimide comprising less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion of residual dihydroxy aromatic compound, preferably bisphenol A.

15. A method for the manufacture of a polyetherimide, comprising

contacting an aromatic bisimide prepared by the method of any one or more of claims 1 to 13, with a phthalic anhydride in the presence of a catalyst and under conditions effective to provide an aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) of the formula wherein Z is an aromatic C6-24 monocyclic or polycyclic moiety optionally substituted with 1 to 6 Ci-8 alkyl groups, 1 to 8 halogen atoms, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and

contacting the aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) with an organic diamine of the formula

H2N-R2-NH2

wherein R2 is an aromatic hydrocarbon group having 6 to 27 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, a straight or branched chain alkylene group having 2 to 10 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, a cycloalkylene group having 3 to 20 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, -(C6H1o)z- wherein z is an integer from 1 to 4, an aromatic hydrocarbyl moiety having from 1 to 6 aromatic groups, and a divalent group of the formula

wherein Q1 is -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -S02-, -SO-, -P(Ra)(=0)- wherein Ra is a Ci-8 alkyl or C6-i2 aryl, -Cyffcy- wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and

wherein the polyetherimide has less than 10 parts per billion, preferably less than 9 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

16. A polyetherimide comprising less than 100 parts per billion, preferably less than 10 parts per billion, more preferably less than 9 parts per billion of residual bisphenol A.

17. An article comprising the polyetherimide of claim 16.

18. A reactor and continuous purification system for the production of an aromatic bisimide, the the system comprising,

a first mechanically stirred reaction vessel 10 having a product mixture stream 20, wherein the first mechanically stirred reaction vessel comprises a product mixture comprising at least one of a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and an aromatic bisimide:

a second mechanically stirred vessel 14 downstream of the first mechanically stirred vessel , wherein the product mixture stream 20 formed from the first mechanically stirred vessel is configured to enter the second mechanically stirred vessel, wherein the second mechanically stirred vessel comprises the product mixture;

a coalescer 22 configured to receive the product mixture from a first outlet stream 24 of the second mechanically stirred vessel and a first water inlet stream 34 to wash the product mixture and provide an aqueous stream and an organic stream comprising the aromatic bisimide; and

a liquid-liquid extraction column 28 configured to receive the organic stream from a first outlet stream 26 of the coalescer, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is configured to extract the reaction mixture with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to provide a purified aromatic bisimide stream 30 having less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one the foregoing.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column includes a 0.1 to 2 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to extract the dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing from the reaction mixture.

Description:
METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF AN AROMATIC PHTHALIC BISIMIDE AND A POLYETHERIMID

BACKGROUND

[0001] Polyetherimides are a class of high performance polymers that can be processed to make molded articles, fibers, films, foams, and the like. Polyetherimides further have high strength, toughness, heat resistance, modulus, and broad chemical resistance, and so are widely used in industries as diverse as automotive, telecommunication, aerospace, electrical/electronics, transportation, and healthcare. Polyetherimides have shown versatility in various manufacturing processes, proving amenable to techniques including injection molding, extrusion, and thermoforming, to prepare various articles.

[0002] However, some polyetherimides do not meet stringent purity requirements necessary for some applications, for example, the polyetherimides can be required to have very low contaminant levels, or the processability and product performance is adversely affected. Common resin contaminants could be organic or inorganic in nature. The organic contaminants are mostly lower molecular weight species, including residual phenolic monomers or derivatives thereof. Besides affecting polymer properties, residual monomers can also be of concern in view of emerging regulatory considerations.

[0003] Accordingly, there remains a continuing need for an improved process for producing high quality polyetherimides, specifically polyetherimides having a non-detectable level of residual phenolic monomers or derivatives thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

[0004] A method for producing an aromatic bisimide comprises reacting a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound with a reactive substituted phthalimide under conditions effective to form a product mixture comprising at least one of the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and the aromatic bisimide; introducing the product mixture to an agitated liquid- liquid extraction column with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to extract residual dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, and the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound from the product mixture; and recovering from the liquid-liquid extraction column a purified aromatic bisimide having less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0005] An aromatic bisimide comprises less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion of residual dihydroxy aromatic compound, preferably bisphenol A.

[0006] A method for the manufacture of a polyetherimide comprises contacting an aromatic bisimide with a phthalic anhydride in the presence of a catalyst and under conditions effective to rovide an aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) of the formula

wherein Z is an aromatic C 6 -24 monocyclic or polycyclic moiety optionally substituted with 1 to 6 Ci-8 alkyl groups, 1 to 8 halogen atoms, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and contacting the aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) with an organic diamine of the formula

H 2 N-R 2 -NH 2

wherein R 2 is an aromatic hydrocarbon group having 6 to 27 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, a straight or branched chain alkylene group having 2 to 10 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, a cycloalkylene group having 3 to 20 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, -(C 6 H 1 o)z- wherein z is an integer from 1 to 4, an aromatic hydrocarbyl moiety having from 1 to 6 aromatic groups, and a divalent group of the formula

wherein Q 1 is -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -S02-, -SO-, -P(R a )(=0)- wherein R a is a Ci- 8 alkyl or C 6 -i2 aryl, -Cyffcy- wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and wherein the polyetherimide has less than 10 parts per billion, preferably less than 9 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. [0007] A polyetherimide comprises less than 100 parts per billion, preferably less than 10 parts per billion, more preferably less than 9 parts per billion of residual bisphenol A.

[0008] An article comprises the above-described polyetherimide.

[0009] A reactor and continuous purification system for the production of an aromatic bisimide comprises a first mechanically stirred reaction vessel 10 having a product mixture stream 20, wherein the first mechanically stirred reaction vessel comprises a product mixture comprising at least one of a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and an aromatic bisimide; a second mechanically stirred vessel 14 downstream of the first mechanically stirred vessel , wherein the product mixture stream 20 formed from the first mechanically stirred vessel is configured to enter the second mechanically stirred vessel, wherein the second mechanically stirred vessel comprises the product mixture; a coalescer 22 configured to receive the product mixture from a first outlet stream 24 of the second mechanically stirred vessel and a first water inlet stream 34 to wash the product mixture and provide an aqueous stream and an organic stream comprising the aromatic bisimide; and a liquid-liquid extraction column 28 configured to receive the organic stream from a first outlet stream 26 of the coalescer, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is configured to extract the reaction mixture with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to provide a purified aromatic bisimide stream 30 having less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono -substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one the foregoing.

[0010] The above described and other features are exemplified by the following Figures and Detailed Description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The following Figure represents an exemplary embodiment.

[0012] The Figure is a schematic illustration of a system for the manufacture of an aromatic bisimide including a continuous liquid-liquid extraction column.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION [0013] Described herein are methods and systems for the manufacture of aromatic bisimides and polyetherimides. The inventors hereof have advantageously discovered that aromatic bisimides can be purified using liquid-liquid extraction techniques that can provide aromatic bisimides having non-detectable levels of residual dihydroxy aromatic compounds (e.g., bisphenol A), specifically less than 500 parts per million (ppm), or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion (ppb) of residual dihydroxy aromatic compounds. Aromatic bisimides produced according to the methods described herein can be used to produce the corresponding polyetherimides. The polyetherimides having non- detectable levels of residual dihydroxy aromatic compounds can advantageously be used to prepare articles for various applications, particularly in applications where the presence of residual dihydroxy aromatic compounds is of concern in view of customer requirements or regulatory considerations.

[0014] One aspect of the present disclosure is a method for producing an aromatic bisimide. The method comprises reacting a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound with a reactive substituted phthalimide under conditions effective to form a product mixture comprising at least one of the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and the aromatic bisimide. In some embodiments, the product mixture comprises the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, and the aromatic bisimide. In some embodiments, the product mixture comprises residual reactive substituted phthalimide, hydrolyzed derivatives thereof, or both.

[0015] The dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound is of formula (1)

M + O-Z-0 + M (1)

wherein M is an alkali metal ion, for example, lithium, sodium, potassium, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. In some embodiments, M is sodium. Z is an aromatic C 6 -24 monocyclic or polycyclic moiety optionally substituted with 1 to 6 C 1-8 alkyl groups, 1 to 8 halogen atoms, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. Exemplar Z groups include groups of formula (2)

(2) wherein R a and R b are each independently the same or different, and are a halogen atom or a monovalent C 1-6 alkyl group, for example; p and q are each independently integers of 0 to 4; c is 0 to 4; and X a is a bridging group connecting the hydroxy-substituted aromatic groups, where the bridging group and the hydroxy substituent of each C 6 arylene group are disposed ortho, meta, or para (specifically para) to each other on the C 6 arylene group. The bridging group X a can be a single bond, -0-, -S-, -S(O)-, -S(0) 2 -, -C(O)-, or a C 1-18 organic bridging group. The CMS organic bridging group can be cyclic or acyclic, aromatic or non-aromatic, and can further comprise heteroatoms such as halogens, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, silicon, or phosphorous. The CMS organic group can be disposed such that the C 6 arylene groups connected thereto are each connected to a common alkylidene carbon or to different carbons of the Ci-18 organic bridging group. A specific group Z is a divalent group of formula (2a) (2a)

wherein Q is -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -S0 2 -, -SO-, -P(R a )(=0)- wherein R a is a Ci- 8 alkyl or C 6 -i2 aryl, or -C y H 2y - wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5 or a halogenated derivative thereof.

Exemplary dihydroxy aromatic compounds from which Z can be derived include but are not limited to 2,2-bis(2-hydroxyphenyl)propane, 2,4'-dihydroxydiphenylmethane, bis(2- hydroxyphenyl)methane, 2,2-bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane ("bisphenol A" or "BPA"), 1,1- bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)ethane, l,l-bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane, 2,2-bis-(4- hydroxyphenyl)pentane, 3,3-bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)pentane, 4,4'-dihydroxybiphenyl, 4,4'- dihydroxy-3,3,5,5'-tetramethylbiphenyl, 2,4'-dihydroxybenzophenone, 4,4'- dihydroxydiphenylsulfone, 2,4'-dihydroxydiphenylsulfone, 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenylsulfoxide, 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenylsulfide, hydroquinone, resorcinol, 3,4-dihydroxydiphenylmethane, 4,4'-dihydroxybenzophenone, 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenylether, and the like, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. In some embodiments, Z is preferably 2,2-(4- phenylene)isopropylidene (i.e., the dihydroxy aromatic compound from which the dialkali metal salt is derived is 2,2-bis-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane (bisphenol A).

[0016] The reactive substituted phthalimide is of formula (3)

wherein X is fluoro, chloro, bromo, iodo, nitro, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and R 1 is a monovalent Ci-13 organic group. In some embodiments, X is nitro. In some embodiments, R is a monovalent Ci-13 alkyl group, preferably a Ci- 4 alkyl group, for example a methyl group. In some embodiments, X is nitro and R 1 is a methyl group. In some embodiments, the reactive substituted phthalimide comprises 4-nitro-N- methylphthalimide, 3-nitro-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0017] The product mixture can also include the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound. The mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound is of formula (4)

wherein M, Z, and R 1 are as defined above. In some embodiments, M is sodium, Z is 2,2-(4- phenylene)isopropylidene, and R 1 is a methyl group.

[0018] In some embodiments, reacting the dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound with the reactive substituted phthalimide is in the presence of one or both of a solvent and a catalyst. Thus, in addition to comprising at least one of the dialkali metal salts, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, the product mixture can further include a solvent. Any nonpolar organic solvent which does not react with the reactants during the formation of the aromatic bisimide can be used in the reaction. Preferably, the solvent is not miscible with water. Suitable nonpolar organic solvents include, but are not limited to, toluene, benzene, chlorobenzene, o-dichlorobenzene, 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, xylene, and the like, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. In some embodiments, the solvent preferably comprises toluene.

[0019] In some embodiments, the product mixture further includes a phase transfer catalyst. In some embodiments, the phase transfer catalyst is a hexaalkylguanidinium salt or a tetraalkylammonium salt. For example, the phase transfer catalyst can be

hexaethylguanidinium chloride, tetraethylammonium bromide, tetraethylammonium acetate, tetrabutylammonium bromide, and the like. Mixtures of catalysts can also be used. In some embodiments, the phase transfer catalyst is preferably a hexaalkylguanidinium salt, for example hexaethylguanidinium chloride.

[0020] The dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound and the reactive substituted phthalimide can be reacted under any suitable reaction conditions that are generally known in the art. For example, the reacting can be at a temperature of 25 to 180°C, preferably 85 to 125°C, more preferably 100 to 125°C. The reacting is preferably in the presence of a solvent, and in some embodiments, the product mixture can have a solids content of 20 to 50 weight percent, where the term "solids content" is defined as the weight of the dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound and the reactive substituted phthalimide relative to the total weight of the product mixture. The reacting can also be in the presence of a phase transfer catalyst. The phase transfer catalyst can be present in an amount of 0.3 to 10 mole percent, based on moles of the dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound. In some embodiments, 0.7 to 1.2 mole percent of the phase transfer catalyst can be used, preferably where the phase transfer catalyst is a hexaalkylguanidinium salt, more preferably wherein the phase transfer catalyst is hexaethylguanidinium chloride. In some embodiments, 1.8 to 2.2 mole percent, preferably 2 mole percent, of the phase transfer catalyst can be used, for example when the phase transfer catalyst is a tetraalkylammonium salt, preferably tetrabutylammonium bromide. The mole ratio of dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound to the substituted phthalimide can be 1: 1.7 to 1:2.3. In some embodiments, however, two moles of the substituted phthalimide per mole of dialkali metal salt is preferred.

[0021] The product mixture comprises the aromatic bisimide of formula (5)

wherein Z and R 1 are as defined above. The divalent bonds of the -0-Z-O- group are in the 3,3', 3,4', 4,3', or the 4,4' positions of the phthalimide phenyl rings. In some embodiments, Z is 2,2-(4-phenylene)isopropylidene, and R 1 is a methyl group. In some embodiments, the aromatic bisimide comprises 4,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,4'-bisphenol-A- bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,3'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0022] In some embodiments, the product mixture can further comprise an inorganic alkali metal salt. In some embodiments, the inorganic alkali metal salt can be derived from the reactive substituted phthalimide. For example, when the reactive substituted phthalimide comprises a nitro-substituted N-(C 1-13 alkyl)phthalimide (e.g., 4-nitro-N-methylphthalimide, 3-nitro-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing), the product mixture can further comprise an alkali metal nitrite (e.g., sodium nitrite). For example, when the reactive substituted phthalimide comprises a chloro- substituted N-(C 1-13 alkyl)phthalimide (e.g., 4-chloro-N-methylphthalimide, 3-chloro-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing), the product mixture can further comprise an alkali metal chloride (e.g., sodium chloride). In some embodiments, when present, the inorganic alkali metal salt is present as a solid precipitate in the product mixture (i.e., the inorganic alkali metal salt is not soluble in the product mixture).

[0023] The method for producing an aromatic bisimide further comprises introducing the above-described product mixture to a liquid-liquid extraction column under the conditions described below. In some embodiments, the product mixture can be directly transferred to the liquid-liquid extraction column (i.e., no prior purification or washing is necessary). In some embodiments, prior to introducing the product mixture to the liquid-liquid extraction column, water can be added to the product mixture. Thus in some embodiments, the method further comprises separating the product mixture into an aqueous phase and an organic phase comprising the aromatic bisimide, and introducing the organic phase to the liquid-liquid extraction column. The liquid-liquid extraction column is preferably an agitated liquid-liquid extraction column. In some embodiments, the agitation is mechanical agitation. The liquid- liquid extraction can be carried out in a batch-wise or continuous method. In some embodiments, the extracting is a continuous process, i.e., the introducing of the product mixture to the extraction column is continuous. Thus, in some embodiments, the liquid- liquid extraction column is preferably a continuous liquid-liquid extraction column. The temperature of the liquid-liquid extraction column is such that the bisimide product remains dissolved in the solvent at the desired solids content.

[0024] The liquid-liquid extraction column includes a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to extract the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding residual dihydroxy aromatic compound, and the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound by-product from the product mixture. The extraction provides a purified aromatic bisimide, generally as a solution in the nonpolar organic solvent (e.g., toluene). When present, residual substituted phthalimide can also be extracted from the product mixture. The residual substituted phthalimide can be extracted in the form of a water- soluble amide-acid carboxylate salt having the formula

wherein X and R are as described above, and Y is an alkali metal ion, for example, lithium, sodium, potassium, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. In some embodiments, Y is sodium. In some embodiments, X is nitro. In some embodiments, R 1 is methyl. When present, inorganic alkali metal salt (e.g., an alkali metal nitrite) can also be extracted from the product mixture using the liquid-liquid extraction column.

[0025] The alkali metal hydroxide can be, for example, sodium hydroxide, or potassium hydroxide, preferably sodium hydroxide. In some embodiments, the liquid-liquid extraction column includes an alkali metal hydroxide aqueous solution having a

concentration of 0.05 to 4 weight percent, or 0.1 to 3 weight percent, or 0.1 to 2 weight percent, or 0.5 to 2 weight percent, or 0.5 to 1.5 weight percent. In some embodiments, the liquid-liquid extraction column is operated at a temperature of 70 to 100°C, preferably 75 to 85°C, more preferably 75 to less than 85°C, and a pressure of 0.05 to 20 atm preferably 0.05 to 1.5 atm.

[0026] Optionally, the product mixture can be washed with water prior to introducing to the liquid-liquid extraction column. The product mixture can be washed in a batch-wise process, for example at least 1 to 10 times with 0.25 to 10 volumes of water per volume of product mixture to effect the removal of inorganic salts (e.g., alkali metal halide salts, alkali metal nitrite salts, and the like). Alternatively, the product mixture can be washed in a continuous process. Additionally, the purified aromatic bisimide can optionally be washed with water following the extraction process in the liquid-liquid extraction column. The purified aromatic bisimide can be washed in a batch-wise process, for example at least 1 to 10 times with 0.25 to 10 volumes of water per volume of product mixture to effect the removal of inorganic salts. Alternatively, the purified aromatic bisimide can be washed in a continuous process. In some embodiments, washing the product mixture with water prior to introducing to the liquid-liquid extraction column can be at a temperature of 70 to 100°C, preferably 75 to 85°C, more preferably 80 to 85°C, even more preferably, 85°C.

[0027] In addition to reacting the dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound and the reactive substituted phthalimide to form a product mixture, and introducing the product mixture to a liquid-liquid extraction column, the method of the present disclosure further includes recovering from the liquid-liquid extraction column the purified aromatic bisimide having less than 500 parts per million (ppm), or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion (ppb) of residual dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, with respect to the weight of the bisimide product. Stated otherwise, the bisimide contains less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 ppb of residual bisphenol A. For example, in some embodiments, the aromatic bisimide can have greater than 0 to less than 500 ppm of residual bisphenol A, or greater than 0 to less than 100 ppm of residual bisphenol A, or greater than 0 to less than 1 ppm of residual bisphenol A, or greater than 0 to less than 10 ppb of residual bisphenol A. In an embodiment, the bisimide preferably contains less than 10 ppb of BPA, for example, greater than 0 to less than 10 ppb of BPA.

[0028] The recovering can include, for example, removing the organic solvent to provide the aromatic bisimide.

[0029] Another aspect of the present disclosure is a reactor and continuous purification system for the production of an aromatic bisimide. As shown in the Figure, the system includes a first mechanically stirred reaction vessel 10 wherein a dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound is reacted with a reactive substituted phthalimide in a solvent in the presence of a phase transfer catalyst at the desired temperature to afford a product mixture comprising the aromatic bisimide, solvent, residual amounts of the dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound and the reactive substituted phthalimide, and catalyst. The product mixture stream (20) is then conveyed to a second mechanically stirred vessel (14) downstream of the first mechanically stirred reaction vessel. The reaction stream (20) is configured to enter the second mechanically stirred vessel (14). The second mechanically stirred vessel thus comprises a product mixture comprising at least one of a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and an aromatic bisimide. A coalescer (22) is positioned downstream of vessel (14), and is configured to receive the product mixture from a first outlet stream (24) of the vessel (14). The coalescer (22) is further configured to receive a first water inlet stream (34), and wash the product mixture with water in the mixing element of the coalescer. The mixed phases (organic and aqueous) enter the coalescing element within the coalescer to separate the phases. The phases continue to separate in the separation compartment of the coalescer. The organic phase leaves coalescer (22) as a first outlet stream (26) and feeds the extraction column (28). The aqueous phase leaves coalescer (22) in a second outlet stream (36). The water leaving the coalescer (22) contains dissolved inorganic alkali metal salt by-product (e.g., the alkali metal halide or alkali metal nitrite). The system further comprises a liquid-liquid extraction column (28) configured to receive the product mixture from the second outlet stream (26) of the coalescer.

[0030] The liquid-liquid extraction column (28) is configured to extract the product mixture with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution, and is thus configured to receive an aqueous alkali metal hydroxide inlet stream (38) from vessel (50). The phases are mixed in small compartments within column (28). The aqueous phase flows to the bottom of the column and the organic phase, when less dense than the aqueous phase, flows to the top of the column, driven by the density difference of each phase. Extracting the product mixture provides a purified aromatic bisimide stream (30) having less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the

corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one the foregoing, with respect to the weight of the bisimide product. Water used in the extraction to remove the dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one the foregoing can be removed from the liquid-liquid extraction column by an aqueous alkali metal hydroxide outlet stream (44). The aqueous alkali metal hydroxide outlet stream (44) can be recycled to vessel (50), configured to receive aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution (32) and supply the aqueous alkali metal hydroxide inlet stream (38) to the liquid-liquid extraction column (28). A slip stream of stream (44) can be removed from the system to maintain the extraction efficiency of the extraction column. The system can further include a second coalescer (46) downstream of the extraction column (28) configured to receive the purified aromatic bisimide stream (30). The coalescer is further configured to receive a second water inlet stream (40), and wash the product mixture with water, and includes a second water outlet stream (42) to remove water after washing. The second coalescer (46) can provide a second purified aromatic bisimide stream (48) having less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one the foregoing with respect to the weight of the bisimide. The purified aromatic bisimide stream 48 can be transferred to a receiving vessel (52).

[0031] Another aspect of the present disclosure is a method for the manufacture of a polyetherimide. The method includes contacting an aromatic bisimide prepared according to the above-described method with a phthalic anhydride in the presence of a catalyst to provide an aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) of formula (6)

wherein Z is as described in formula (1). The catalyst can be a Ci-20 trialkylamine, for example trimethylamine. In some embodiments, the contacting can occur in the presence of 0.5 to 15 mole percent of the catalyst with respect to the anhydride. The aromatic bisimide and the phthalic anhydride are contacted under conditions that are generally known to be effective to provide the aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride). For example, the phthalic anhydride can present in a molar excess compared to the aromatic bisimide, for example 3 to 8 molar excess of phthalic anhydride relative to aromatic bismide. The contacting can further be in the presence of a solvent, for example water. The contacting can be at a temperature of 150 to 210°C, and can be carried out for 0.5 to 3 hours, preferably with agitation (e.g., stirring).

[0032] Polymerization of the aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) (6) with an organic diamine of formula

H2N-R-NH2 (7)

provides the polyetherimide. In formula (7) each R is the same or different, and is a substituted or unsubstituted divalent organic group, such as a C 6 -20 aromatic hydrocarbon group, a straight or branched chain C2-20 alkylene group, a C3-8 cycloalkylene group, in particular a halogenated derivative of any of the foregoing. In some embodiments R is divalent group of one or more of the following formulas (8)

wherein Q 1 is -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -SO2-, -SO-, -P(R a )(=0)- wherein R a is a Ci- 8 alkyl or C 6 -i2 aryl, -C y H2 y - wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5 or a halogenated derivative thereof (which includes perfluoroalkylene groups), or -(C 6 H 1 o)z- wherein z is an integer from 1 to 4. In some embodiments R is m-phenylene, p-phenylene, or a diarylene sulfone, in particular bis(4,4'- phenylene)sulfone, bis(3, 4 '-phenylene) sulfone, bis(3,3'-phenylene)sulfone, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. In some embodiments, at least 10 mole percent of the R groups contain sulfone groups, and in other embodiments no R groups contain sulfone groups. The polyetherimides prepared according to the method disclosed herein

advantageously have less than 100 parts per billion, preferably less than 10 ppb of residual bisphenol A.

[0033] Another aspect of the present disclosure is a polyetherimide comprising less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 ppb, preferably less than 9 ppb of residual bisphenol A. The polyetherimide comprises 2 to 1000, or 5 to 500, or 10 to 100 repeating units of formula (9)

wherein each Z and R is the same or different, and is as described in formulas (1) and (7) above. Further in formula (9), the divalent bonds of the -0-Z-O- group are in the 3,3', 3,4', 4,3', or the 4,4' positions. In an embodiment in formula (9), R is m-phenylene or p-phenylene and Z is a divalent group of formula (2a). Alternatively, R is m-phenylene or p-phenylene and Z is a divalent group of formula (2a) wherein Q is 2,2-isopropylidene. Alternatively, the polyetherimide can be a copolymer comprising additional structural polyetherimide units of formula (9) wherein at least 50 mole percent (mol%) of the R groups are bis(3,4'- phenylene)sulfone, bis(3,3'-phenylene)sulfone, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and the remaining R groups are p-phenylene, m-phenylene or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and Z is 2,2-(4-phenylene)isopropylidene, i.e., a bisphenol A moiety.

[0034] In some embodiments, the polyetherimide is a copolymer that optionally comprises additional structural imide units that are not polyetherimide units, for example imide units of formula (10)

wherein R is as described in formula (7) and each V is the same or different, and is a substituted or unsubstituted C 6 -20 aromatic hydrocarbon group, for example a tetravalent linker of the formulas

wherein W is a single bond, -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -SO2-, -SO-, a Ci-is hydrocarbylene group, - P(R a )(=0)- wherein R a is a Ci-s alkyl or C 6 -i2 aryl, or -Cyfhy- wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5 or a halogenated derivative thereof (which includes perfluoroalkylene groups). These additional structural imide units preferably comprise less than 20 mol% of the total number of units, and more preferably can be present in amounts of 0 to 10 mol% of the total number of units, or 0 to 5 mol% of the total number of units, or 0 to 2 mole % of the total number of units. In some embodiments, no additional imide units are present in the polyetherimide.

[0035] In some embodiments, the polyetherimide is a polyetherimide- siloxane copolymer including the above-described polyetherimide repeating units and siloxane blocks containing units of formula (12) wherein E has an average value of 2 to 100, 2 to 31, 5 to 75, 5 to 60, 5 to 15, or 15 to 40, and each R' is independently a Ci-13 monovalent hydrocarbyl group. For example, each R' can independently be a Ci-13 alkyl group, Ci-13 alkoxy group, C2-13 alkenyl group, C2-13 alkenyloxy group, C3-6 cycloalkyl group, C3-6 cycloalkoxy group, C 6 -i4 aryl group, C 6 -io aryloxy group, C7-13 arylalkyl group, C7-13 arylalkoxy group, C7-13 alkylaryl group, or C7-13 alkylaryloxy group. The foregoing groups can be fully or partially halogenated with fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. In an embodiment no bromine or chlorine is present, and in another embodiment no halogens are present. Combinations of the foregoing R groups can be used in the same copolymer. In an embodiment, the polysiloxane block comprises R' groups that have minimal hydrocarbon content. In a specific embodiment, an R' group with a minimal hydrocarbon content is a methyl group.

[0036] The polyetherimide-siloxane copolymers can be formed by polymerization of an aromatic bisanhydride (6) and a diamine component comprising an organic diamine (7) as described above or mixture of diamines, and a polysiloxane diamine of formula (13)

wherein R' and E are as described in formula (12), and each R 4 is independently a C2-C20 hydrocarbon moiety, in particular a C2-C20 arylene, alkylene, or arylenealkylene group. In an embodiment R 4 is a C2-C20 alkylene group, specifically a C2-C10 alkylene group such as propylene, and E has an average value of 5 to 100, 5 to 75, 5 to 60, 5 to 15, or 15 to 40.

Procedures for making the polysiloxane diamines of formula (13) are well known in the art.

[0037] In some polyetherimide-siloxane copolymers the diamine component used in the manufacture of the copolymers can contain 10 to 90 mole percent (mol %), or 20 to 50 mol%, or 25 to 40 mol% of polysiloxane diamine (13) and 10 to 90 mol%, or 50 to 80 mol%, or 60 to 75 mol% of diamine (7), for example as described in US Patent 4,404,350. The diamine components can be physically mixed prior to reaction with the bisanhydride(s), thus forming a substantially random copolymer. Alternatively, block or alternating copolymers can be formed by selective reaction of (7) and (13) with aromatic bis(ether anhydrides) (6), to make polyimide blocks that are subsequently reacted together. Thus, the polyetherimide- siloxane copolymer can be a block, random, or graft copolymer. Block polyetherimide- siloxane copolymers comprise etherimide blocks and siloxane blocks in the polymer backbone. The etherimide blocks and the siloxane blocks can be present in random order, as blocks (i.e., AABB), alternating (i.e., ABAB), or a combination thereof. Graft

polyetherimide-siloxane copolymers are non-linear copolymers comprising the siloxane blocks connected to linear or branched polymer backbone comprising etherimide blocks. [0038] In an embodiment, the polyetherimide-siloxane copolymer has units of formul

wherein R' and E of the siloxane are as in formula (12), the R and Z of the imide are as in formula (9), R 4 is the same as R 4 as in formula (13), and n is an integer from 5 to 100. In a specific embodiment, the R is a phenylene, Z is a residue of bisphenol A, R 4 is n-propylene, E is 2 to 100, 5 to 30, or 10 to 40, n is 5 to 100, and each R' of the siloxane is methyl.

[0039] The relative amount of poly siloxane units and etherimide units in the polyetherimide-siloxane copolymer depends on the desired properties, and are selected using the guidelines provided herein. In particular, the polyetherimide-siloxane copolymer is selected to have a certain average value of E, and is selected and used in amount effective to provide the desired weight percent (wt.%) of siloxane units. In an embodiment the polyetherimide-siloxane comprises 5 to 50 wt.%, 10 to 40 wt.%, or 20 to 35 wt.% siloxane units, based on the total weight of the polyetherimide-siloxane. In some embodiments the polysiloxane block of the copolymer has a number average molecular weight (Mn) of 300 to 3000 grams/mole (Daltons). system for the manufacture of a polyetherimide is also disclosed. The system comprises a reactor comprising a product mixture comprising at least one of a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding

dihydroxyaromatic compound, or the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, and an aromatic bisimide of formula (5), as described above.

[0040] In some embodiments, the aromatic bisimide is prepared according to the above-described method, and has less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 ppb of residual bisphenol A. For example, the aromatic bisimide can have less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 ppb of residual dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing. For example, in some embodiments, the aromatic bisimide can have greater than 0 to less than 500 ppm of residual bisphenol A, or greater than 0 to less than 100 ppm of residual bisphenol A, or greater than 0 to less than 1 ppm of residual bisphenol A, or greater than 0 to less than 10 ppb of residual bisphenol A. [0041] An article comprising the polyetherimide having less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 100 parts per billion, or less than 10 ppb of residual dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, preferably residual bisphenol A, represents another aspect of the present disclosure. Articles including the polyetherimide can be prepared by any number of methods including shaping, foaming, extruding, thermoforming, spinning, or molding. Examples of applications for the articles include food service, medical, lighting, lenses, sight glasses, windows, enclosures, safety shields, cookware, medical devices, trays, plates, handles, helmets, animal cages, electrical connectors, enclosures for electrical equipment, engine parts, automotive engine parts, lighting sockets and reflectors, electric motor parts, power distribution equipment, communication equipment, computers, and the like. Articles can include, for example, hollow fibers, hollow tubes, hollow tube fibers wherein the wall of the fiber has small openings of various pore sizes which affords a permeable membrane fiber, permeable membranes in other shapes with various pore sizes, solid fibers, sheets, films, multilayer sheets, multilayer films, molded parts, extruded profiles, coated parts, foams, windows, luggage racks, wall panels, chair parts, lighting panels, diffusers, shades, partitions, lenses, skylights, lighting devices, reflectors, ductwork, cable trays, conduits, pipes, cable ties, wire coatings, electrical connectors, air handling devices, ventilators, louvers, insulation, bins, storage containers, doors, hinges, handles, sinks, mirror housing, mirrors, toilet seats, hangers, coat hooks, shelving, ladders, hand rails, steps, carts, trays, cookware, food service equipment, medical devices, data transmission equipment, powders, composites,

communications equipment and instrument panels, and the like.

[0042] The method for producing aromatic bismides described herein advantageously allows for the production of aromatic bismides having less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 ppb of a residual dihydroxy aromatic compound (e.g., bisphenol A). Accordingly, polyetherimides can now be produced having less than 100 parts per billion, or less than 10 ppb of a residual dihydroxy aromatic compound (e.g., bisphenol A). The polyetherimides meet new customer requirements for articles for various applications. Therefore, a substantial improvement in methods for producing aromatic bisimides and polyetherimides is provided. [0043] The methods and systems for the manufacture of aromatic bisimides and polyetherimides are further illustrated by the following non-limiting examples.

EXAMPLES

Examples 1-4

[0044] An aromatic bisimide was prepared according to the method disclosed herein.

[0045] A disodium salt of bisphenol A (100 grams, 367 millimole (mmol)) was reacted with nitrophthalimide comprising 3-nitrophthalimide and 4-nitrophthalimide (151.47 grams, 735 mmol) in toluene (640 milliliters) in the presence of hexaethylguanidinium chloride (HEGCl; 1.0 grams, 3.7 mmol) as a phase transfer catalyst. The reaction was carried out at 120°C for 2 hours with stirring under nitrogen.

[0046] The product mixture was cooled to 83 °C and mixed with 200 milliliters of water at 83 °C. The mixture was stirred for 5 minutes at 83 °C. The stirring was stopped and the aqueous solution phase was allowed to separate from the organic solution phase containing the bisimide over a 10 minute period. The aqueous phase was separated from the organic phase.

[0047] The resulting organic phase was purified using a mechanically agitated, continuous liquid-liquid extraction column at 80°C. The reaction mixture was about 25 wt.% aromatic bisimide in toluene with residual concentrations of various starting materials including the disodium and monosodium salt of bisphenol A, bisphenol A, the corresponding mono-substituted imide, and nitrophthalimide. The reaction/purification procedure described was scaled up to provide enough material for extraction studies.

[0048] A 1 wt.% aqueous sodium hydroxide solution at 80 °C and the organic product (aromatic bisimide in toluene having been once extracted with water, as described above) at 80 °C were introduced to the extraction column to extract the residual starting materials. The extraction column was three inches in diameter, and was mechanically agitated at 400 rpm, with the agitator diameter being 35% of the column diameter. The extraction column included 99 agitated stages, each having a height of 1 inch.

[0049] Purification using the liquid-liquid extraction procedure described above provided the aromatic bisimide product having a non-detectable level of bisphenol A (i.e., less than 10 ppb bisphenol A with respect to the dry weight of the bisimide), as shown in

Table 1.

Table 1

esidual BPA detected in aromatic bisimide product

[0050] As demonstrated by Examples 1-4 shown in Table 1, residual bisphenol A can be reduced to non-detectable levels (i.e., less than 10 ppb based) in an aromatic bisimide using the method described herein.

Comparative Examples 1-4

[0051] As a comparative example, removal of residual bisphenol A was attempted under vacuum at elevated temperature in a simulated wiped film evaporator. A solid mixture of 4,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, and 3, 3' -bisphenol- A-bis-N-methylphthalimide containing 3.9 ppm of residual BPA (5 grams) was charged to a 250-mL, round-bottomed flask. The flask was then placed in an oven and connected to a vacuum pump using a triple-bulb Kuglerohr adapter. The flask was oscillated 180°C with an air driven motor. The oven was rapidly heated to 280°C and the flask was rotated from 10 to 30 minutes under different levels of vacuum. Under these conditions, the bisimide melted and formed a thin film on the inside of the flask. After a prescribed amount of time, nitrogen was allowed to enter the flask and the vacuum was broken. The flask removed from the oven and the bisimide allowed to cool. The resulting bisimide was then analyzed for residual bisimide by high pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC). The results are shown in Table 2.

Table 2

[0052] As shown in Table 2, although some BPA was removed under vacuum at elevated temperature, the desired low level of BPA was not achieved.

Comparative Example 5

[0053] As a further comparative example, removal of residual bisphenol A was attempted from bisimide/toluene mixtures in a laboratory simulated series of batch extractors. A 2- liter, oil-jacketed vessel with a bottom drain valve, equipped with a mechanical agitator that rotated a paddle blade stirrer, was charge with 800 grams of a reaction mixture containing toluene, bisimide (composed of 4,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,4'- bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, and 3,3'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide), sodium alkali metal, residual BPA disodium salt, and other impurities. The material was heated to 85°C and agitated under nitrogen. The bisimide dissolved in the toluene to afford a 24 weight percent (wt%) solution. The reaction mixture was then agitated with 100 mL 1 wt% of aqueous sodium hydroxide for 5 minutes at 83 to 85°C. The agitation was such that there was turbulent mixing of the organic and aqueous phases. The agitation was stopped and the phases were allowed to separate at 85°C for 10 minutes. The aqueous phase was drained from the bottom of the vessel. The organic phase was then analyzed for residual BPA using HPLC. The toluene phase was washed 3 more times as described above, and after each wash the amount of residual BPA present in the bisimide/toluene phase was determined by HPLC. The results are shown in Table 3.

Table 3

'"NM" means "not measured"

[0054] The experiment showed that BPA can be washed out of the bisimide/toluene solution with 5 multiple caustic batch washes to a level of about 100 ppb (i.e., 100 ppb of BPA with respect to the dry weight of bisimide).

Comparative Examples 6-9

[0055] Repeated batchwise extractive purification of a bisimide/toluene solution was carried out according to procedure described above for comparative example 5. 800 grams of reaction mixture was extracted twice with 100 mL of 1 wt% NaOH (aqueous). The purified bisimide/toluene solution was then washed three additional times with 1 wt% NaOH in the same manner as described above. The amount of BPA remaining in the bisimide was determined by HPLC after each wash. The experiment was done four times and the data appears in Table 4.

Table 4

3 rd additional wash (ppb) 34 24 19 27

[0056] As shown in Table 4, using a repeated batch extractive purification process, the residual amount of BPA in the aromatic bisimide was reduced from 5.4-19 ppm to 19-34 ppb.

Comparative Examples 10-11

[0057] A 5-liter, oil-jacketed vessel with a bottom drain valve, equipped with a mechanical agitator that rotated a paddle blade stirrer, was charged with 2400 grams of a reaction mixture containing toluene, bisimide (composed of 4,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N- methylphthalimide, 3,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, and 3,3'-bisphenol-A-bis-N- methylphthalimide), sodium alkali metal, residual BPA disodium salt, and other impurities. The material was heated to 85°C and agitated under nitrogen. The bisimide dissolved in the toluene to afford a 24 weight percent (wt%) solution. The reaction mixture was then agitated with 100 mL 1 wt% of aqueous sodium hydroxide for 5 minutes at 83 to 85°C. The agitation was such that there was turbulent mixing of the organic and aqueous phases. The agitation was stopped and the phases were allowed to separate at 85°C for 10 minutes. The aqueous phase was drained from the bottom of the vessel. The toluene phase was washed again as described above. The extractively purified toluene/bisimide phase was then charged to a separate vessel and the toluene distilled overhead. The bisimide remaining in the vessel was then heated to 250°C under nitrogen to remove the last traces of toluene to afford neat bisimide.

[0058] The neat bisimide (200 grams), comprised of a mixture of 4,4'-bisphenol-A- bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, and 3,3'-bisphenol-A- bis-N-methylphthalimide, was dissolved in toluene at 85°C in a 2-liter, oil-jacketed vessel with a bottom drain valve, equipped with a mechanical agitator that rotated a paddle blade stirrer. Two trials were run, one at 17.2 wt% bisimide in toluene, and one at 13.9 wt%. The toluene/bisimide phase as washed three times with 100 mL of aqueous 1 wt% sodium hydroxide as described above, and a sample of the bisimide after each wash was analyzed for residual BPA. The results are shown in Table 5.

Table 5 3 rd additional wash (ppb) 27 33

[0059] As shown in Table 5, the level of the residual BPA in the bisimide obtained after washing was 27 to 33 ppb.

[0060] The methods and systems for the manufacture of aromatic bisimides and polyetherimides are further illustrated by the following embodiments.

[0061] Embodiment 1: A method for producing an aromatic bisimide, the method comprising reacting a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound with a reactive substituted phthalimide under conditions effective to form a product mixture comprising at least one of the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and the aromatic bisimide; introducing the product mixture to an agitated liquid-liquid extraction column with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to extract residual dialkali metal salt, the

corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, and the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound from the product mixture; and recovering from the liquid- liquid extraction column a purified aromatic bisimide having less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0062] Embodiment 2: The method of embodiment 1, further comprising, prior to introducing the product mixture to the liquid-liquid extraction column, adding water to the product mixture and separating the product mixture into an aqueous phase and an organic phase comprising the aromatic bisimide, and introducing the organic phase to the liquid- liquid extraction column.

[0063] Embodiment 3: The method of embodiment 1 or 2, wherein the product mixture comprises the dialkali metal salt, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the aromatic bisimide, and, optionally, an alkali metal salt, preferably an alkali metal nitrite, an alkali metal halide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0064] Embodiment 4: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 3, wherein the introducing is a continuous process.

[0065] Embodiment 5: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 4, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is a continuous liquid-liquid extraction column. [0066] Embodiment 6: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 3, wherein the introducing is a batch process.

[0067] Embodiment 7: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 6, wherein the agitation is mechanical agitation.

[0068] Embodiment 8: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 7, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is operated at a temperature of 70 to 100°C, preferably 75 to 85°C, and a pressure of 0.05 to 20 atm, preferably 0.05 to 1.5 atm.

[0069] Embodiment 9: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 8, wherein the dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound is of the formula

M + O-Z-0 + M;

the reactive substituted phthalimide is of the formula

the mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound is of the formula

the aromatic bisimide is of the formula

wherein in the foregoing formulas, M is an alkali metal ion; Z is an aromatic C 6 -24 monocyclic or polycyclic moiety optionally substituted with 1 to 6 C 1-8 alkyl groups, 1 to 8 halogen atoms, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, X is fluoro, chloro, bromo, iodo, nitro, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and R 1 is a monovalent Ci-13 organic group.

[0070] Embodiment 10: The method of embodiment 9, wherein M is sodium.

[0071] Embodiment 11: The method of embodiments 9 or 10, wherein Z is a divalent group of the formula

wherein Q is -0-, -S-, -C(0)-, -SO2-, -SO-, -P(R a )(=0)- wherein R a is a Ci- 8 alkyl or C 6 -i2 aryl, or -C y H2 y - wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5 or a halogenated derivative thereof, preferably wherein Z is 2,2-(4-phenylene)isopropylidene.

[0072] Embodiment 12: The method of any one or more of embodiments 9 to 11, wherein X is nitro and R 1 is a Ci- 4 alkyl, preferably methyl.

[0073] Embodiment 13: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 12, wherein the reactive substituted phthalimide comprises 4-nitro-N-methylphthalimide, 3-nitro- N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0074] Embodiment 14: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 13, wherein the aromatic bisimide comprises 4,4'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,4'- bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, 3,3'-bisphenol-A-bis-N-methylphthalimide, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0075] Embodiment 15: The method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 14, wherein the product mixture further comprises at least one of residual reactive substituted phthalimide or a derivative thereof; a nonpolar organic solvent, preferably wherein the nonpolar organic solvent is toluene; or a phase transfer catalyst, preferably wherein the phase transfer catalyst is a hexaalkylguanidinium salt, more preferably wherein the phase transfer catalyst is hexaethylguanidinium chloride.

[0076] Embodiment 16: An aromatic bisimide comprising less than 500 ppm, or less than 100 ppm, or less than 1 ppm, or less than 10 parts per billion of residual dihydroxy aromatic compound, preferably bisphenol A.

[0077] Embodiment 17: A method for the manufacture of a polyetherimide, comprising contacting an aromatic bisimide prepared by the method of any one or more of embodiments 1 to 15, with a phthalic anhydride in the presence of a catalyst and under conditions effecti e to provide an aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) of the formula

wherein Z is an aromatic C 6 -24 monocyclic or polycyclic moiety optionally substituted with 1 to 6 Ci-8 alkyl groups, 1 to 8 halogen atoms, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and contacting the aromatic bis(ether phthalic anhydride) with an organic diamine of the formula

H 2 N-R 2 -NH 2

wherein R 2 is an aromatic hydrocarbon group having 6 to 27 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, a straight or branched chain alkylene group having 2 to 10 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, a cycloalkylene group having 3 to 20 carbon atoms, a halogenated derivative thereof, -(C 6 H 1 o)z- wherein z is an integer from 1 to 4, an aromatic hydrocarbyl moiety having from 1 to 6 aromatic groups, and a divalent group of the formula

wherein Q 1 is -0-, -S-, -C(O)-, -S02-, -SO-, -P(R a )(=0)- wherein R a is a Ci- 8 alkyl or C 6 -i2 aryl, -Cyffcy- wherein y is an integer from 1 to 5, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing; and wherein the polyetherimide has less than 10 parts per billion, preferably less than 9 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono- substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing.

[0078] Embodiment 18: A polyetherimide comprising less than 100 parts per billion, preferably less than 10 parts per billion, more preferably less than 9 parts per billion of residual bisphenol A.

[0079] Embodiment 19: An article comprising the polyetherimide of embodiment 18.

[0080] Embodiment 20: A reactor and continuous purification system for the production of an aromatic bisimide, the the system comprising, a first mechanically stirred reaction vessel 10 having a product mixture stream 20, wherein the first mechanically stirred reaction vessel comprises a product mixture comprising at least one of a dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing, and an aromatic bisimide; a second mechanically stirred vessel 14 downstream of the first mechanically stirred vessel , wherein the product mixture stream 20 formed from the first mechanically stirred vessel is configured to enter the second mechanically stirred vessel, wherein the second mechanically stirred vessel comprises the product mixture; a coalescer 22 configured to receive the product mixture from a first outlet stream 24 of the second mechanically stirred vessel and a first water inlet stream 34 to wash the product mixture and provide an aqueous stream and an organic stream comprising the aromatic bisimide; and a liquid-liquid extraction column 28 configured to receive the organic stream from a first outlet stream 26 of the coalescer, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column is configured to extract the reaction mixture with a 0.01 to 5 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to provide a purified aromatic bisimide stream 30 having less than 10 parts per billion of residual dialkali metal salt of a dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one the foregoing.

[0081] Embodiment 21: The system of embodiment 20, wherein the liquid-liquid extraction column includes a 0.1 to 2 weight percent aqueous alkali metal hydroxide solution to extract the dialkali metal salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding dihydroxy aromatic compound, the corresponding mono-substituted salt of the dihydroxy aromatic compound, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing from the reaction mixture.

[0082] In general, the methods, compositions, and articles can alternatively comprise, consist of, or consist essentially of, any appropriate components herein disclosed. The methods, compositions, and articles can additionally, or alternatively, be formulated so as to be devoid, or substantially free, of any components, materials, ingredients, adjuvants or species used in the prior art compositions or that are otherwise not necessary to the achievement of the function and/or objectives of the present invention.

[0083] The terms "a" and "an" and "the" as used herein do not denote a limitation of quantity, and are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. "Or" means "and/or" unless clearly indicated otherwise. All ranges disclosed herein are inclusive of the endpoints, and the endpoints are independently combinable with each other. "Combination" is inclusive of blends, mixtures, alloys, reaction products, and the like.

[0084] As used herein, the term "hydrocarbyl" includes groups containing carbon, hydrogen, and optionally one or more heteroatoms (e.g., 1, 2, 3, or 4 atoms such as halogen, O, N, S, P, or Si). "Alkyl" means a branched or straight chain, saturated, monovalent hydrocarbon group, e.g., methyl, ethyl, i-propyl, and n-butyl. "Alkylene" means a straight or branched chain, saturated, divalent hydrocarbon group (e.g., methylene (-CH 2 -) or propylene (-(CH2)3-)). "Alkenyl" and "alkenylene" mean a monovalent or divalent, respectively, straight or branched chain hydrocarbon group having at least one carbon-carbon double bond (e.g., ethenyl (-HC=CH 2 ) or propenylene (-HC(CH3)=CH 2 -). "Alkynyl" means a straight or branched chain, monovalent hydrocarbon group having at least one carbon-carbon triple bond (e.g., ethynyl). "Alkoxy" means an alkyl group linked via an oxygen (i.e., alkyl-O-), for example methoxy, ethoxy, and sec-butyloxy. "Cycloalkyl" and "cycloalkylene" mean a monovalent and divalent cyclic hydrocarbon group, respectively, of the formula -C n H 2 n-x and -C n H 2 n-2x- wherein x is the number of cyclization(s). "Aryl" means a monovalent, monocyclic, or polycyclic aromatic group (e.g., phenyl or naphthyl). "Arylene" means a divalent, monocyclic, or polycyclic aromatic group (e.g., phenylene or naphthylene). The prefix "halo" means a group or compound including one more halogen (F, CI, Br, or I) substituents, which can be the same or different. The prefix "hetero" means a group or compound that includes at least one ring member that is a heteroatom (e.g., 1, 2, or 3 heteroatoms, wherein each heteroatom is independently N, O, S, or P.

[0085] "Substituted" means that the compound or group is substituted with at least one (e.g., 1, 2, 3, or 4) substituents instead of hydrogen, where each substituent is

independently nitro (-N0 2 ), cyano (-CN), hydroxy (-OH), halogen, thiol (-SH), thiocyano (- SCN), Ci-6 alkyl, C 2 -6 alkenyl, C 2 -6 alkynyl, Ci-6 haloalkyl, C1-9 alkoxy, Ci-6 haloalkoxy, C3-12 cycloalkyl, C5-18 cycloalkenyl, C 6 -i2 aryl, C7-13 arylalkylene (e.g, benzyl), C7-12 alkylarylene (e.g, toluyl), C 4 -i2 heterocycloalkyl, C3-12 heteroaryl, Ci-6 alkyl sulfonyl (-S(=0)2-alkyl), C 6 -i2 arylsulfonyl (-S(=0)2-aryl), or tosyl (CfbCefUSC -), provided that the substituted atom's normal valence is not exceeded, and that the substitution does not significantly adversely affect the manufacture, stability, or desired property of the compound. When a compound is substituted, the indicated number of carbon atoms is the total number of carbon atoms in the group, including those of the substituent(s). All references are incorporated herein by reference.

[0086] While particular embodiments have been described, alternatives,

modifications, variations, improvements, and substantial equivalents that are or can be presently unforeseen may arise to applicants or others skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims as filed and as they may be amended are intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications variations, improvements, and substantial equivalents.