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Title:
PROCESS FOR THE PREPARATION OF POLYISOPRENE WITH A MAINLY ALTERNATING CIS-1,4- ALT-3,4 STRUCTURE IN THE PRESENCE OF A CATALYTIC SYSTEM COMPRISING A PYRIDYL IRON COMPLEX
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/142108
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating cis-1,4-alt-3,4 structure comprising polymerizing isoprene in the presence of a catalytic system comprising: (a) at least one pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I): wherein: - R1 is selected from linear or branched C1-C20, preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups, optionally substituted cycloalkyl groups, optionally substituted aryl groups; - R2 is selected from linear or branched C1-C10, preferably C1-C3, alkyl groups; - X, mutually identical or different, represent a halogen atom such as, for example, chlorine, bromine, iodine; or they are selected from linear or branched C1-C20, preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups, -OCOR3 groups or -OR3 groups wherein R3 is selected from linear or branched C1-C20, preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups, - n is 2 or 3; (b) at feast one co-catalyst selected from organo-derivative compounds of aluminum, preferably from (b1) aluminoxanes having general formula (II): ( R4)2-AI-0-[-AI(R5)-0-}m-AI-(R6)2 ( II ) wherein R4, R5 and R6, mutually identical or different, represent a hydrogen atom, or a halogen atom such as, for example, chlorine, bromine, iodine, fluorine; or they are selected from linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, said groups being optionally substituted with one or more silicon or germanium atoms; and m is an integer ranging from 0 to 1000; (b2) aluminum compounds having general formula (III): AI(R7)(R8)(R9) (III) wherein R7 is a hydrogen atom, or is selected from linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, alkylaryl groups, arylalkyl groups, alkoxy groups; R8 and R9, mutually identical or different, are selected from linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, alkylaryl groups, arylalkyl groups; wherein the molar ratio between the aluminum present in the co-catalyst and the iron present in the iron pyridyl complex having general formula (I) is ranging from 5 to 60, preferably from 8 to 55.

Inventors:
RICCI, Giovanni (Via E.Sartori, 11/1, Parma, I-43126, IT)
SOMMAZZI, Anna (Viale Giovanni XXIII, Novara, I-28100, IT)
PAMPALONI, Guido (Via E. Fiumalbi 29, Pontedera, I-56025, IT)
LEONE, Giuseppe (Via Cesare Saldini 38, Milano, I-20100, IT)
MASI, Francesco (Via Galvani 7, Sant'angelo Lodigiano, I-26866, IT)
Application Number:
IB2019/050333
Publication Date:
July 25, 2019
Filing Date:
January 16, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VERSALIS S.P.A. (Piazza Boldrini 1, San Donato Milanese, I-20097, IT)
International Classes:
C08F136/08; C08F4/70
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004020413A12004-03-11
WO2018073795A12018-04-26
Foreign References:
US5239023A1993-08-24
US5082906A1992-01-21
Other References:
GIOVANNI RICCI ET AL: "cis -1,4- alt -3,4 Polyisoprene: Synthesis and Characterization", MACROMOLECULES, vol. 42, no. 23, 8 December 2009 (2009-12-08), pages 9263 - 9267, XP055131019, ISSN: 0024-9297, DOI: 10.1021/ma901864e
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAURO, Marina Eliana (Piazza Borromeo 12, Milano, I-20123, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 , Process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure comprising polymerizing isoprene in the presence of a catalytic system comprising:

(a) at least one pyridyi iron complex having general formula (I):

wherein:

Ri is selected from linear or branched C1-C20, preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups, optionally substituted cycloalkyl groups, optionally substituted aryl groups;

R2 is selected from linear or branched C1-C10, preferably C1-C3, alkyl groups; X, mutually identical or different, represent a halogen atom such as chlorine, bromine, iodine; or they are selected from linear or branched C1-C20 preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups, -OCOR3 groups or -OR3 groups wherein R3 is selected from linear or branched C1-C20 preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups; n is 2 or 3;

(b) at least one co-catalyst selected from organo-derivaiive compounds of

aluminum, preferably from

(b1 ) aluminoxanes having genera! formula (II):

( R4)2-AI-0-(-AI(Rs)-0-]m-AI-( R6)2 ( ! I )

wherein R4, Rs and Re, mutually identical or different, represent a hydrogen atom, or a halogen atom such as chlorine, bromine, iodine, fluorine; or they are selected from linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, said groups being optionally substituted with one or more silicon or germanium atoms; and m is an integer ranging from 0 to 1000;

(b2) aluminum compounds having general formula (ill):

A!(R7)(R8)(R9) (III)

wherein R7 represents a hydrogen atom, or is selected from linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, a!ky!ary! groups, arylaikyl groups, alkoxy groups; Re and Rg, mutually identical or different, are selected from linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, alkylaryl groups, arylaikyl groups;

wherein the molar ratio between the aluminum present in the co-catalyst and the iron present in the pyridyi iron complex having general formula (I) is ranging from 5 to 60, preferably ranging from 8 to 55.

, Process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure according to claim 1 , wherein in said pyridyi iron complex having general formula (I):

Ri represents a methyl group, an ethyl group, an n-propy! group, an isopropyl group, preferably a methyl group;

R2 represents a methyl group, an ethyl group, an n-propyl group, an isopropyl group, preferably a methyl group or an /so-propyl group;

X, mutually identical, represent a halogen atom such as chlorine, bromine, iodine; preferably a chlorine atom;

n is 2 or 3.

3. Process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said aluminoxanes having general formula (II) are selected from: methylaluminoxane (MAO), ethylaluminoxane, n- butylaluminoxane, tetra-/so-butylaiuminoxane (TIBAO), tert-butylaluminoxane, tetra- (2,4,4-trimethylpentyl)aluminoxane (TIOAO), tetra-(2,3-dimethylbutyl)aluminoxane (TDMBAO), tetra-(2,3,3-trimethylbutyl)aluminoxane (TTMBAO), or mixtures thereof; preferably methylaluminoxane (MAO).

4. Process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said aluminum compounds having general formula (III) are selected from: diethylaluminum hydride, di-n- propylaluminum hydride, di-n-butyla!uminum hydride, dwso-buty!-aiuminum hydride (DIBAH), diphenylaluminum hydride, di-p-tolylaluminum hydride, dibenzyl aluminum hydride, diethylaluminum hydride, phenyl-n-propylaluminum hydride, p~

tolylethylaluminum hydride, p-toly!-n-propylaluminum hydride, p-tolyl-/so-propyl- alu inum hydride, benzylethylaluminum hydride, benzyl-n-propylaluminum hydride, be nzyl-/so-p ropylaluminum hydride, diethylaluminum ethoxide, di-/so-butyl aluminum dioxide, dipropylaluminum ethoxide, trimethylaluminum, triethylaluminum (TEA), tri-n-propylaluminum, tri-/so-butylaluminum (TIBA), tri-n-butylaluminum, tripentylaluminum, trihexaluminum, tricyclohexylaluminum, trioctylaluminum, triphenyia!u inum, tri-p-tolylalluminium, tribenzylaluminum, ethyldiphenylaluminum, ethyldi-p-toly!aluminum , etildibenzylaluminum, diethylphenylaluminum, diethyl-p- tolylaluminum, diethylbenzylaluminum, or mixtures thereof; preferably tri-/so- butylaluminum (TIBA).

5. Process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure according to any of the previous claims, wherein:

said process is carried out in the presence of at least one inert organic solvent selected from: saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons such as butane, pentane, hexane, heptane, or mixtures thereof; saturated cycloaliphatic hydrocarbons such as cyclopentane, cyclohexane, or mixtures thereof; mono-olefins such as 1 -butene, 2-butene, or mixtures thereof; aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, xylene, or mixtures thereof; halogenated hydrocarbons such as dichloromethane, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethylene, perch!oroethylene, 1 ,2-dichSoroethane, chlorobenzene, bromobenzene, chlorotoluene, or mixtures thereof; preferably hexane, heptane, toluene;

and/or

in said process the concentration of the isoprene in said inert organic solvent is ranging from 5% by weight to 50% by weight, preferably ranging from 10% by weight to 20% by weight, with respect to the total weight of the mixture of isoprene and inert organic solvent; and/or

said process is carried out at a temperature ranging from -30°C to ÷60°C, preferably ranging from -20°C to + 3G°G.

, Use of the polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/'s-t ,4~a/f~3,4 obtained according to the process according to any of the previous claims, for the production of tyres, in particular for tyre treads, as well as in the footwear industry, in particular in the production of shoe soles.

Description:
PROCESS FOR THE PREPARATION OF POLYISOPRENE WITH A MAINLY

ALTERNATING C/S-1 s 4-ALT-3,4 STRUCTURE IN THE PRESENCE OF A CATALYTIC SYSTEM COMPRISING A PYRIDYL IRON COMPLEX

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure.

More in particular, the present invention relates to a process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure comprising polymerizing isoprene in the presence of a catalytic system comprising: at least one pyridyl iron complex; at least one co-catalyst selected from organo-derivative compounds of aluminum.

It is known that the stereospecific (co)polymerization of conjugated dienes is a very important process in the chemical industry in order to obtain products that are among the most widely used rubbers.

It is also known that the stereospecific polymerization of isoprene can provide

stereoregular polymers with different structures: c/s- 1 ,4; frans-1 ,4; 3,4, iso tactic and syndiotactic.

For example, polyisoprene with a c/s- 1 ,4 structure can be prepared using catalytic systems comprising neodymium based catalysts and aluminum compounds [for example, the catalytic system diethyialuminum chloride/neodymium 2-ethylhexanoate/tri-/so- butylaluminum (AIEt2Ci/Nd(OCOC7Hi5)3/Al i Bu 3 )], as described, for example, in: Ricci G. et al,“D/e Makromoleculare Chemie, Rapid Communications” (1986), Vol. 7, pag. 355-359; Ricci G. et al,“ Polymer Communications” (1987), Vol. 28, Issue 8, pag. 223-226; Porri L. et al,“ACS Symposium Series 749 - Olefin Polymerization: Emerging Frontiers" (2000), Arjunan P., McGrath J. C. and Hanlon T Eds., Oxford University Press, USA, pag. 15-30. Alternatively, said poiyisoprene with a c/s-1 ,4 structure can be prepared using catalytic systems comprising titanium based catalysts and aluminum compounds [for example, the catalytic system titanium tetrachloride/triethyl aluminum (TiCi^AIEta)], as described, for example, in: Porri L et al“ Comprehensive Polymer Science" (1989), Eastmond, G. C., Ledwith A., Russo S., Sigvvalt P. Eds., Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford Vol. 4, Part II, pag. 53-108; Horne S. E. et al,“ Industrial Engineering Chemistry’ (1956), Vol. 48 (4), pag. 784- 791.

A poiyisoprene with a trans- 1 ,4 structure analogous to that of gutta-percha is described by Natta G. et al in "Chemical Abstract’ (1959), Vol. 53, pag. 3756 and in Italian patent application IT 536631.

Alternatively, poiyisoprene with a frans-1 ,4 structure, can be prepared using catalytic systems comprising vanadium based catalysts [for example, the catalytic system vanadium triacetylacetonate/methylaluminoxane (V(acac) 3 /MAO), operating at a low temperature, i.e. at a temperature < -20° C], as described, for example, in Ricci G et al, "Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics’ (1994), Vol. 195, issue 4, pag. 1389-1397; Ricci G. et al,“ Journal . Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry’ (2007), Vol. 45, Issue 20, pag. 4635-4646.

Poiyisoprene with a syndiotactic 3,4 structure can be prepared using catalytic systems comprising iron based catalysts [for example, the catalytic system diethyl bis(2,2’- bipyridine)iron/methyialuminoxane (FeEt2(bipy)2/ ' MAO), or diethyl bis(2,2’-bipyridine)iron dichloride/methylaluminoxane (Fe(bipy) 2 Cl 2 /MAO)] as described, for example, in: Bazzini C. et al,“Macromolecular Rapid Communications' (2002), Vol. 23, pag. 922-927; Ricci G. et al,“Journal of Molecular Catatalysis A: Chemical’ (2003), 204-205, pag. 287-293;

Bazzini C. et al,“ Polymer” (2004), Vol. 45, pag. 2871-2875; Pirozzi B. et al, “Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics” (2004), Vol. 205, Issue 10, pag. 1343-1350; Ricci G. et a!,“Coordination Chemistry Reviews" (2010), Vol. 254, Issue 5-6, pag. 661- 676; or in international patent application WO 02/102861.

Polyisoprene with an isotactic 3,4 structure can be prepared using catalytic systems comprising catalysts based on scandium metallocene complexes as described, for example, in: Zhang L. et al,“Journal of the American Chemical Society" (2005), Vol.

127(42), pag. 14562-14563; Nakajima Y. et al,“Organometaiiics” (2009), Vol. 28 (24), pag. 6861-6870.

A polyisoprene with a perfectly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure has recently been obtained through the polymerization of isoprene in the presence of a catalytic system comprising a catalyst based on cobalt complexes with aromatic phosphines and methyla!uminoxane (MAO), i.e. the catalytic system CoCi (PRPh ) /MAO (wherein R = ethyl, n-propyl, /so-propy!, cyclohexyl), as described, for example in Ricci G. et al,

“ Macromolecuies” (2009), Vol. 42(23), pag. 9263-9267. The aforesaid polyisoprene is said to have a molecular weight ranging from 60000 gxmol 1 to 80000 gxmol 1 and a glass transition temperature (T g ) equal to about -18°C.

It is also known that catalytic systems comprising pyridy! iron complexes are able to provide (co)polymers of conjugated dienes, such as poiybutadiene or polyisoprene with a mixed structure and, in particular, to modulate the microsfructure of the (co)polymers of conjugated dienes obtained, i.e. the 1 ,4-c/s, 1 ,4-trans and 1 ,2 unit content in the poiybutadiene and the 1 ,4-c/s, 1 ,4-trans and 3,4 unit content in the polyisoprene, and also to provide syndiotactic 1 ,2 poiybutadiene as described, for example, in Italian patent applications IT 102016000105714 and IT 102016000105730 in the name of the Applicant. As polyisoprene with a mainly alternating cis-1 ,4-alt-3,4 structure can be advantageously used in different sectors such as, for example, for producing tyres, in particular for tyre treads, as well as in the footwear industry (for example, for producing soles for shoes), the study of new processes able to provide said polyisoprene is still of great interest.

The Applicant therefore set out to solve the problem of finding a new process able to provide polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure.

The Applicant has now found a process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating cis-1 ,4-alt-3,4 structure comprising polymerizing isoprene in the presence of a catalytic system comprising: at least one pyridyl iron complex having the specific general formula (I) provided below; at least one co-catalyst selected from organo-derivative compounds of aluminum. The use of said catalytic system allows a polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure to be obtained. Said catalytic system further enables operation at a low molar ratio between the aluminum contained in the co-catalyst and the iron contained in the pyridyl iron complex having specific general formula (I) reported below and, in particular, thanks to its high catalytic activity, low quantities of co- catalyst and iron to be used, with consequent significant advantages from an economic point of view. Furthermore, said catalytic system can be used in the presence of an inert organic solvent selected from aliphatic hydrocarbons, with consequent significant advantages both from an economic point of view and from an environmental sustainability point of view.

The subject matter of the present invention is therefore a process for the preparation of polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure comprising polymerizing isoprene in the presence of a catalytic system comprising:

(a) at least one pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I):

wherein:

Ri is selected from linear or branched C1-C 20 , preferably C1-C1 5 , alkyl groups, optionally substituted cydoalkyl groups, optionally substituted aryl groups;

R 2 is selected from linear or branched C 1 -C 10 , preferably C1-C 3 , alkyl groups;

X, mutually identical or different, represent a halogen atom such as, for example, chlorine, bromine, iodine; or they are selected from linear or branched Ci-C2o, preferably C 1 -C 15 , alkyl groups, -OCOR 3 groups or -OR 3 groups wherein f¾ is selected from linear or branched C1-C2 0 , preferably C1-C15, alkyl groups

n is 2 or 3;

(b) at least one co-catalyst selected from organo-derivative compounds of aluminum, preferably from

(bi) afuminoxanes having general formula (II):

(R4)2-Al-0-[-AI(R 5 )-0-] m -Al-(R 6 )2 ill)

wherein R 4 , Rs and Re, mutually identical or different, represent a hydrogen atom, or a halogen atom such as, for example, chlorine, bromine, iodine, fluorine; or they are selected from linear or branched C 1 -C 20 alky! groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, said groups being optionally substituted with one or more silicon or germanium atoms; and m is an integer ranging from 0 to 1000;

(bz) aluminum compounds having genera! formula (III):

AI(R 7 )(Re)(R9) (!!!)

wherein R 7 is a hydrogen atom, or is selected from linear or branched C1-C2 0 alkyl groups, cycloalkyl groups, aryl groups, alkylary! groups, arylalkyf groups, alkoxy groups; R 8 and Rg, mutually identical or different, are selected from linear or branched C 1 -C 20 alkyi groups, cydoalkyl groups, aryl groups, alkylaryl groups, aryialkyl groups;

wherein the molar ratio between the aluminum present in the co-catalyst and the iron present in the iron pyridyl complex having general formula (I) is ranging from 5 to 80, preferably from 8 to 55.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the definitions of the numeric ranges always include the extremes unless specified otherwise.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term

“comprising” also includes the terms“which essentially consists of or“which consists of. For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term

“po!yisoprene with a mainly alternating structure” indicates that in said polyisoprene there are short sequences of c/s-1 ,4 units (i.e. 3 units) spaced out with alternating c/s- 1 ,4/3,4 sequences; said polyisoprene can be represented as follows:

'w (3,4 - cis-lA— 3,4— cis- 1 ,4 - 3,4— cis- 1,4— cis- 1 ,4— CK-1 ,4} ·

For the purpose of the present description and of the foliowing claims, the term“C1-C 10 alkyl groups” and“C -C20 alkyl groups” means alkyl groups having from 1 to 10 carbon atoms and from 1 to 20 carbon atoms, respectively, linear or branched. Specific examples of C 1 -C 10 and C1-C20 alkyl groups are: methyl, ethyl, n-propyl, iso- propyl, n-buty!, s-butyl, iso- butyl, te/f-butyi, pentyl, hexyl, heptyl, octyl, n-nonyl, n-decyl, 2-butyloctyl, 5- methylhexyl, 4-ethylhexyl, 2-ethy!heptyi, 2-ethylhexyl.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term“cycioaiky! groups” means cycloalkyl groups having from 3 to 30 carbon atoms. Said cycloaikyi groups can also be optionally substituted with one or more groups, mutually identical or different, selected from: halogen atoms; hydroxyl groups, C1-C 12 alkyl groups; C1-C12 alkoxy groups; cyano groups; amino groups; nitro groups. Specific examples of cycioaiky! groups are: cyclopropyl, 2,2-difluorocydopropyl, cyclobutyl, cyc!openiyi, cyclohexyl, hexamethylcyclohexyl, pentamethlylcyclopentyl, 2-cyclooctylethyl, methylcyclohexyl, methoxicyclohexyl, fluorocyclohexyl, phenylcyclohexyl.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term“aryl groups” having 6 to 30 carbon atoms means carbocyclic aromatic groups. Said aryl groups can also be optionally substituted with one or more groups, mutually identical or different, selected from: halogen atoms such as, for example, fluorine, chlorine, bromine; hydroxyl groups, C1-C12 alkyl groups; C1-C12 alkoxy groups; cyano groups; amino groups; nitro groups. Specific examples of aryl groups are: phenyl, 2-methylphenyl, 4- methy!phenyl, 2- terf-butylphenyl, 2,4,6-trimethylphenyl, 2-/so-propylphenyl,

methoxyphenyl, hydroxyphenyl, phenyloxyphenyl, fluorophenyl, pentafluorophenyl, chlorophenyl, bromophenyl, nitrophenyl, dimethylaminophenyl, naphthyl, phenylnaphthyl, phenanthrene, anthracene.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term“alkylaryl groups” means aryl groups substituted with one or more groups, mutually identical or different, selected from C1-C12 alkyl groups. Specific examples of alkylaryl groups are: 2- methylphenyl, 4-methylphenyl, 2,4,6-trimethylphenyl, 2,6-di-/so-propylphenyl.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term“arylalkyl groups” means alkyl groups substituted with an aryl group. Specific examples of arylalkyl groups are: benzyl, phenylethyl, 6-naphthylhexyl.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the term“alkoxy groups” means groups comprising an oxygen atom to which a linear or branched C1-C20 alkyl group is bonded. Specific examples of C1-C20 alkoxy groups are: methoxy, ethoxy, n- propoxy, /so-propoxy, n-butoxy, iso- butoxy, f-butoxy, pentoxy, hexyloxy, heptyloxy, octyloxy, nonyloxy, decyloxy, dodecyloxy.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, in said pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I):

Ri represents a methyl group, an ethyl group, an n-propyl group, an iso- propyl group, preferably a methyl group;

F½ represents a methyl group, an ethyl group, an r?-propyl group, an iso- propyl group, preferably a methyl group or an /so-propyl group;

X, mutually identical, represent a halogen atom such as, for example, chlorine, bromine, iodine; preferably a chlorine atom;

n is 2 or 3;

The pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) can be considered, in accordance with the present invention, under any physical form such as, for example, the isolated and purified solid form, the form solvated with an appropriate solvent, or the one supported on suitable organic or inorganic solids, preferably having a granular or powdered physical form.

The pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) is prepared starting from ligands known in the prior art.

Specific examples of ligands useful for the purpose of the present invention are those having the following formulae (L1 } and (L2):

Said ligands having formulae (L1 ) and (L2), can be prepared through processes known in the prior art. For example, said ligands having formulae (L1 ) and (L2) can be prepared through a process comprising the condensation reaction between an appropriate aniline and 2-acety!pyridine, with the formation of the corresponding imine as described, for example, in: Wu J. et al,“Journal of American Chemical Societf (2009), Voi. 131(36), pg. 12915-12917; Laine V. T. et al,“European Journal of Inorganic Chemistrf (1999), Vol. 6, pg. 959-964; Bianchini C. et al,“New Journal of Chemistr^’ (2002), Vol. 26(4), pg. 387- 397; Lai Yi-C. et al,“ Tetrahedron’ (2005), Vol. 61(40), pg. 9484-9489.

The pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) may be prepared according to procedures known in the prior art. For example, said pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) can be prepared by reaction between iron compounds having general formula Fe(X)a or Fe(X)s wherein X is a halogen atom such as, for example, chlorine, bromine, iodine, preferably chlorine, as such or complexed with ethers [for example, diethylether, tetrahydrofuran (THF), dimethoxyethane], or with water, with appropriate pyridine ligands (L) such as, for example, the ligands having formulae (L1) or (L2) reported above, in molar ratio ligand (L)/iron (Fe) ranging from 1 to 2 operating, preferably, in presence of at least one solvent which can be selected, for example, from: chlorinated solvents (for example, dich!oromethane), ether solvents, [for example, tetrahydrofuran (THF)], alcoholic solvents (for example, butanol), hydrocarbon solvents (for example, toluene, hexane), or mixtures thereof, at a temperature ranging from ambient temperature to +110°C. The pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) thus obtained can be subsequently recovered by means of methods known in the prior art such as, for example, washing the solid product obtained with an appropriate solvent (for example, heptane), followed by drying (for example, under vacuum). More details on the process for the preparation of said pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) can be found in the examples reported below.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims the expression “ambient temperature” means a temperature ranging from +20°C to ÷25°C. As is known, aluminoxanes are compounds containing AI-O-AI bonds, with a variable O/A! ratio, obtainable according to processes known in the prior art such as, for example, by reaction, in controlled conditions, of an aluminum alkyl, or of an aluminum alkyl haiogenide, with water, or with other compounds containing predetermined quantities of available water such as, for example, in the case of the reaction of aluminum trimethyl with aluminum sulfate hexahydrate, copper sulfate pentahydrate, or iron sulfate pentahydrate.

Said aluminoxanes and, in particular, methylaluminoxane (MAO), are compounds that can be obtained through known organometallic chemical processes such as, for example, by adding trimethyl aluminum to a suspension of aluminum sulfate hexahydrate in hexane.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, said aluminoxane having general formula (II) can be selected, for example from: methylaluminoxane (MAO), ethylaiuminoxane, n-butylaluminoxane, tetra-/so-butylaluminoxane (TIBAO), tert- butylaluminoxane, tetra-(2,4,4-trimethylpentyl)aluminooxane (TIOAO), tetra-(2,3- dimethylbutyl)aluminoxane (TDMBAO), tetra-(2,3,3-trimethy!butyi)aluminoxane

(TTMBAO), or mixtures thereof. Methylaluminoxane (MAO) is particularly preferred.

Further details relative to the aluminoxane having general formula (II) can be found, for example, in international patent application WO 201 1/061151.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, said aluminum compounds having general formula (III) can be selected, for example, from:

diethyla!uminum hydride, di-n-propylaluminum hydride, di-n-butylaluminum hydride, di-/so- butyl-aluminum hydride (DIBAH), diphenylaluminum hydride, di-p-tolylaluminum hydride, dibenzylaluminum hydride, diethylaluminum hydride, phenyl-n-propylaluminum hydride, p- tolylethylaluminum hydride, p-tolyl-n-propylaluminum hydride, p-tolyl-/so-propylaluminum hydride, benzylethylaluminum hydride, benzyl-n-propy!aluminum hydride, benzyl-/so- propylaluminum hydride, diethylaluminum ethoxide, di-/so-butylaluminum ethoxide, dipropylaiuminum ethoxide, trimethylaluminum, triethylaluminum (TEA), tri-n- propylaluminum, tri-fso-butyla!uminum (TIBA), tri-n-butyiaiuminum, tripentylaluminum, trihexy!aluminum, triciclohexyialuminum, trioctyiaiuminu , triphenylaluminum, tri-p- toly!aluminum, tribenzyialuminum, ethyldiphenylaluminum, ethyl-di-p- toiyiaiuminum, ethyldibenzyialuminum, diethylphenylaluminum, diethyl-p-tolylaluminum,

diethyl benzyialuminum, or mixtures thereof. Tri-/so-butyialuminum (TIBA) is preferred.

In general, the formation of the aforesaid catalytic system is preferably carried out in an inert liquid means, more preferably in a hydrocarbon solvent. The choice of the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) and of the co-catalyst, as well as the particular methodology used, may vary according to the molecular structures and to the desired result, according to what is similarly reported in relevant literature accessible to an expert skilled in the art for other transition metal complexes with ligands of various nature, such as, for example, in: Ricci G. et al, "Advances in Organometallic Chemistry Research" (2007), Yamamoto K. Ed., Nova Science Publisher, Inc., USA, pg. 1-36; Ricci G. et al, "Coordination Chemistry Reviews” (2010), Vol. 254, pg. 661-676; Ricci G. et al,

"Ferrocenes: Compounds, Properties and Applications” (2011), Elisabeth S. Phillips Ed., Nova Science Publisher, Inc., USA, pg. 273-313; Ricci G. et al, "Chromium:

Environmental, Medical and Material Studies” (2011 ), Margaret P. Salden Ed., Nova Science Publisher, Inc., USA, pg. 121-1406; Ricci G. et al, "Cobalt: Characteristics, Compounds, and Applications" (2011), Lucas J. Vidmar Ed., Nova Science Publisher, Inc., USA, pg. 39-81 ; Ricci G. et al, "Phosphorus: Properties, Health effects and Environment (2012), Ming Yue Chen and Da-Xia Yang Eds., Nova Science Publisher, Inc., USA, pg. 53-94.

For the purpose of the present invention, the co-catalyst may be placed in contact with a pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I), in proportions such that the molar ratio between the aluminum contained in the co-catalyst and the iron contained in the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) is between the values reported above, i.e. the molar ratio between the aluminum contained in the co-catalyst and the iron contained in the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) is ranging from 5 to 80, preferably ranging from 8 to 55. The sequence with which the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) and the co-catalyst are placed in contact with each other is not particularly critical.

For the purpose of the present description and of the following claims, the terms“mole” and“molar ratio” are used both with reference to compounds consisting of molecules and with reference to atoms and ions, omitting for the latter ones the terms gram atom or atomic ratio, even if they are scientifically more accurate.

For the purpose of the present invention, other additives or components may optionally be added to the aforementioned catalytic system so as to adapt it to satisfy specific practical requirements. The catalytic systems thus obtained can therefore be considered included within the scope of the present invention. Additives and/or components that can be added in the preparation and/or formulation of the aforesaid catalytic system are, for example: inert solvents such as, for example, aliphatic and/or aromatic hydrocarbons; aliphatic and/or aromatic ethers; weakly coordinating additives (e.g., Lewis bases) selected, for example, from non-polymerizabie olefins; sterically hindered or electronically poor ethers; halogenating agents such as, for example, silicon halides, halogenated hydrocarbons, preferably chlorinated; or mixtures thereof.

Said catalytic system can be prepared, as already reported above, according to methods known in the prior art.

For example, said catalytic system can be prepared separately (preformed) and subsequently introduced into the polymerization environment. For this purpose, said catalytic system can be prepared by making at least one pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) react with at least one co-catalyst, optionally in the presence of other additives or components selected from those cited above, in the presence of a solvent such as, for example, toluene, heptane, at a temperature ranging from +20°C to +60°C, for a time ranging from 10 seconds to 10 hours, preferably ranging from 30 seconds to 5 hours.

Alternatively, said catalytic system can be prepared in situ, i.e. directly in the

polymerization environment. For this purpose, said catalytic system can be prepared by separately introducing the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I), the co-catalyst and the isoprene, operating at the conditions wherein the polymerization is carried out. Further details on the preparation of said catalytic system can be found in the examples reported below.

For the purpose of the present invention, the aforesaid catalytic system can also be supported on inert solids, preferably consisting of silicon and/or aluminum oxides, such as, for example, silica, alumina or silico-aluminates. For supporting said catalytic system the known supporting techniques can be used, generally comprising contact, in a suitable inert liquid medium, between the support, optionally activated by heating to temperatures above +200°C, and one or both components of said catalytic system. It is not necessary, for the purposes of the present invention, for both components to be supported, as the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I), or the co-catalyst, may also be present on the support surface alone. In the latter case, the missing component on the surface is subsequently placed in contact with the supported component when the active catalytic system is to be formed by polymerization.

The scope of the present invention also includes the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I), and the catalytic systems based thereon, which are supported on a solid through the functionalization of the latter and the formation of a covalent bond between the solid and the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I)

The quantity of the pyridyl iron complex having general formula (I) and of the co-catalyst which can be used in the process object of the present invention varies according to the polymerization process to be carried out. As mentioned above, said quantity is however such as to obtain a molar ratio between the aluminum contained in the co-catalyst and the iron contained in the iron pyridyl complex having general formula (I) ranging from 5 to 60, preferably ranging from 8 to 55.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, said process can be carried out in the presence of at least one inert organic solvent selected, for example, from: saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons such as, for example, butane, pentane, hexane, heptane, or mixtures thereof; saturated cycloaliphatic hydrocarbons such as, for example, cyclopentane, cyclohexane, or mixtures thereof; mono-olefins such as, for example, 1- butene, 2-butene, or mixtures thereof; aromatic hydrocarbons such as, for example, benzene, toluene, xylene, or mixtures thereof; halogenated hydrocarbons such as, for example, dichloromethane, ch!oroform, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, 1 ,2-dich!oroethane, chlorobenzene, bromobenzene, chlorotoluene, or mixtures thereof. Hexane, heptane, toluene, are preferred.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, in said process the concentration of the isoprene in said inert organic solvent may be ranging from 5% by weight to 50% by weight, preferably ranging from 10% by weight to 20% by weight, with respect to the total weight of the mixture of isoprene and inert organic soivent.

in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, said process can be carried out at a temperature ranging from -30°C to +60°C, preferably ranging from - 20°C and ÷30°C.

With regard to pressure, it is preferable to operate at the pressure of the components of the mixture to be polymerized.

Said process can be carried out both continuously and in batch, preferably continuously. The process according to the present invention allows a poiyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure to be obtained, having the foliowing characteristics: glass transition temperature (T g ) less than -25°C, preferably ranging from -28°C to - 35X.

weight average molecular weight (M w ) ranging from 100000 gxmol -1 to 400000 gxmol· 1 , preferably ranging from 110000 gxmol· 1 to 380000 gxmol 1 .

The poiyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure obtained according to the process of the present invention can be advantageously used in different sectors such as, for example, for the production of tyres, in particular for tyre treads, as well as in the footwear industry (for example, in the production of shoe soles).

Therefore, further subject matter of the present invention is the use of the poiyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure obtained according to the process described above for the production of tyres, in particular for tyre treads, as well as in the footwear industry, in particular in the production of shoe soles,

For the purpose of understanding the present invention better and to put it into practice, below are some illustrative and non-!imiting examples thereof.

EXAMPLES

Reagents and materials

The list below reports the reagents and the materials used in the following examples of the invention, any optional pre-treatments thereof and their manufacturer:

iron (III) chloride (FeC¾) (Aldrich): purity 99.9%, used as such; iron (li) chloride (FeCh) (Aldrich): purity 97%, used as such;

neodymium 2-ethylhexanoate [Nd(OCOC 7 Hi 5 3 ] (Strem Chemicais): used as such; methylaluminoxane (MAO) (toluene solution 10% by weight) (Crompton): used as such;

iri-/so-butylaiuminum (TIBA) (Akzo Nobel): used as such;

diethylaluminum chloride (AIEbCi) (Akzo Nobel): used as such;

hydrochloric acid in 37% aqueous solution (Aldrich): used as such;

o-toluidine (Aldrich): distilled at reduced pressure and stored in an inert atmosphere;

2-/so~propyianiline (Aldrich): used as such;

2-acetylpyridine (Aldrich): used as such;

ethyl acetate (Aldrich): used as such;

heptane (Aldrich): pure, ³ 99%, distilled over sodium (Na) in an inert atmosphere; methanol (Carlo Erfaa, RPE): used as such;

toluene (Aldrich): pure, > 99 5%, distilled over sodium (Na) in an inert atmosphere; isoprene (Aldrich): pure, ³ 99%, refluxed over calcium hydride for 2 hours, then distilled“trap-to-trap” and stored in a nitrogen atmosphere at +4°C;

formic acid (HCOOH) (Aldrich): purity > 95%, used as such;

p-toluenesulfonic acid monohydrate (Aldrich): pure, > 98.5%, used as such;

hydrofluoric acid (HF) (40% aqueous solution) (Aldrich): used as such;

sulfuric acid (H2SO4) (96% aqueous solution) (Aldrich): used as such, or diluted with distilled water (1/5);

nitric acid (HNO 3 ) (70% aqueous solution) (Aldrich): used as such;

sodium carbonate (NaaCOs) (Aldrich): used as such;

silver nitrate (AgNOs) (Aldrich): used as such;

deuterated tetrachloroethylene (C2D2CI4) (Acros): used as such; hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) (Acros): used as such.

The analysis and characterization methodologies reported below were used.

a) Determination of Fe

For the determination of the quantity by weight of iron (Fe) in the pyridyl iron complexes used for the purpose of the present invention, an exactly weighed aliquot, operating in dry- box under nitrogen flow, of about 30 mg - 50 mg of sample, was placed in a 30 ml platinum crucible, together with a 1 ml mixture of 40% hydrofluoric acid (HF), 0.25 ml of 96% sulphuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ) and 1 ml of 70% nitric acid (HNO 3 ). The crucible was then heated on a hot plate increasing the temperature until white sulfur fumes appeared (about +200°C). The mixture thus obtained was cooled to ambient temperature and 1 ml of 70% nitric acid (HNO 3 ) was added, then it was left again until fumes appeared. After repeating the sequence another two times, a clear, almost colorless, solution was obtained. 1 ml of nitric acid (HNO 3 ) and about 15 ml of water were then added cold, then heated to +80°C for about 30 minutes. The sample thus prepared was diluted with MilliQ pure water until it weighed about 50 g, precisely weighed, to obtain a solution on which the instrumental analytical determination was carried out through a Thermo Optek IRIS Advantage Duo ICP-OES (plasma optical emission) spectrometer, for comparison with solutions of known concentration. For this purpose, for every analyte, a calibration curve was prepared in the range 0 ppm - 10 ppm, measuring calibration solutions by dilution by weight of certified solutions.

The solution of sample prepared as above was then diluted again by weight in order to obtain concentrations close to the reference ones, before carrying out spectrophotometric measurement. All the samples were prepared in double quantities. The results were considered acceptable if the individual repeated test data did not have a relative deviation of more than 2% with respect to their mean value.

b ) Determination ofchlorine

For said purpose, samples of the pyridyl iron complexes used for the purpose of the present invention, about 30 mg - 50 mg, were precisely weighed in a 100 ml glass beakers in dry-box under nitrogen flow. 2 g of sodium carbonate (Na2CC>3) were added and, outside the dry- box, 50 ml of MilliQ water. It was brought to the boiling on the hot plate, under magnetic stirring, for about 30 minutes. It was left to cool, then 1/5 diluted sulfuric acid (H2SO4) was added, until acid reaction and was then titrated with 0.1 N silver nitrate (AgNOs) with a potentiometric titrator.

c) Determination of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen

The determination of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, in the pyridyl iron complexes used for the purpose of the present invention, as well as in the ligands used for the purpose of the present invention, was carried out through a Carlo Erba automatic analyzer Mod.

1106.

R spectra

The 13 C-NMR and ^-NMR spectra were recorded through a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer mod. Bruker Avance 400, using deuterated tetrachloroethyiene (C2D2GI4) at ÷103°C, and hexamethy!disi!azane (HDMS) as internal standard. For this purpose, polymeric solutions were used with concentrations equal to 10% by weight with respect to the total weight of the polymeric solution.

The microstructure of the polyisoprenes obtained [i.e. c/s- 1 ,4 (%) and 3,4 (%) unit content] was determined through the analysis of the aforesaid spectra based on the indications reported in literature by Ricci G. et al,“Macromo!ecules” (2009), Vol. 42(23), pag. 9263- 9267, mentioned above.

For that purpose: Figure 1 shows, by way of example, the 1 H~NMR spectrum of the polyisoprene with a mainiy alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/?-3,4 structure obtained in Example 9 reported below from which it is possible to determine the microstructure of said polyisoprene;

specifically, only the olefinic zone related to the olefinic protons of the isoprene units with a c/s-1 ,4 and 3,4 structure is shown: the percentage of units with a 3,4 structure can be obtained from the following equation:

% 3,4 = [B/(2A + B)] x 100

wherein B represents the area of the peaks related to the two olefinic protons with a 3,4 structure, and A represents the area of the peak related to the only olefinic proton of the unit with a c/s-1 ,4 structure;

Figure 2 shows, by way of example, the 13 C-NMR spectrum (olefinic zone) of the polyisoprene with a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/F3,4 structure obtained in Example 9 reported below; from such spectrum, it is possible to determine the way wherein the isoprene units with a c/s-1 ,4 and 3,4 structure are distributed along the polymer chain; in fact, only one signal is observed for each of the two olefinic carbons of the isoprene units with a 3,4 structure, indicating that such isoprene units with a 3,4 structure, only experience a single type of environment and, precisely, are only inserted in an alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure (Figure 3), while 4 different signals are observed for each of the two olefinic carbons of the isoprene units with a c/s-1 ,4 structure, indicating that such isoprene units with a c/s-1 ,4 structure experience 4 different environments (Figure 3).

S.R. Spectra

The I.R. (FT-iR) spectra were recorded through Thermo Nicolet Nexus 670 and Bruker

IFS 48 spectrophotometers.

The I.R. (FT-!R) spectra of the polyssoprenes obtained were determined by the analysis of polymeric films on potassium bromide (KBr) tablets, said films being obtained through the deposition of a solution in hot 1 ,2-dichlorobenzene of the polymer to be analyzed. The concentration of the polymeric solutions analyzed was equal to 10% by weight with respect to the total weight of the polymeric solution.

Determination of the molecular weight

The determination of the molecular weight (MW) of the polyisoprenes obtained was carried out through GPC (“Gel Permeation Chromatography”), using the Waters ® Alliance ® GPC/V 2000 System by Waters Corporation which uses two detection lines: Refractive Index (Rl) and Viscometer operating under the following conditions:

two PLgel Mixed-B columns;

solvent/eluent: o-dichlorobenzene (Aldrich);

flow rate: 0.8 ml/min;

temperature: ÷145°C;

molecular mass calculation: Universal Calibration method.

The weight-average molecular weight (M w ) and the Polydispersion Index (PDI) corresponding to the ratio M w /M n (M n = number-average molecular weight) are reported. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

Differential Scanning Calorimetry analysis, for the purpose of determining the glass transition temperature (T g ) of the polymers obtained, was carried out through a Perkin Elmer Pyris differential scanning calorimeter. For that purpose, 5 mg of polymer were analyzed, with a scanning speed ranging from +1°C/min to +20°C/min, in an inert nitrogen atmosphere.

EXAMPLE 1

Synthesis of ligand having formula iLD (15) in a 250 ml flask, 2-acetyipyridine (9.1 g, 75 mmoles) and some drops of formic acid were added to a solution of o-toluidine (8 g, 75 mmoles) in methanol (100 ml): the mixture obtained was left, under stirring, at ambient temperature, for 48 hours. Subsequently, the solvent was removed through vacuum evaporation and the residue obtained was purified through elution on a silica gel chromatography column [eluent: mixture of heptane/ethyl acetate in ratio of 99/1 (v/v)], obtaining 6.5 g of a light yellow oil (yield = 40%)

corresponding to the ligand having formula (L1).

Molecular weight (MW): 210.28.

Elementary analysis [found (calculated for C14H14N2)]: C: 80.00% (79.97%); H: 6.77% (6.71%); N: 13.41% (13 32%).

1 H-NMR (CDCI 3I d ppm) 8.70 (m, 1 H, HPy), 8.41 (m, 1H HPy), 7.80 (td, 1 H, HPy), 7.39 (dt, 1 H, HPy), 7.27-7,18 (m, 2H, Ph), 7.02 (m, 1 H, Ph), 6.69 (d, 1 H, Ph), 2.30 (s, 3H, N=C- CH 3 ), 2.10 (s, 3H, Ph-CHs).

EXAMPLE 2

Synthesis of ligand having formula

In a 250 ml flask, 2-acetylpiridine (3.78 g; 31.1 mmoles) and p-toluenesulfonic acid monohydrate (0.15 g; 0.81 mmoles) were added to a solution of 2-/so-propylaniline (4.20 g; 31.1 mmoles) in toluene (20 ml): the mixture obtained was heated under reflux, for 2 hours. Subsequently, the solvent was removed through vacuum evaporation and the residue obtained was purified through vacuum distillation, obtaining 5.89 g of an orange oil (yield = 79%) corresponding to the ligand having formula (12).

Molecular weight (MW): 238.33.

Elementary analysis [found (calculated for C16H18N2)]: C: 80.17% (80.63%); H: 7.80% (7.61%); N: 11.91% (11.75%).

1 H-NMR (CDCI 3 , d ppm) 8.71 (d, 1 H), 8.37 (d, 1 H), 7.81 (t, 1 H), 7.38 (m, 2 H), 7.22 (t, 1 H), 7.15 (t, 1 H), 6.67 (d, 1 H), 3.05 (sept, 1 H), 2.39 (s, 3 H), 1.23 (d, 6 H).

EXAMPLE 3

Synthesis of FeCb(ll ) fsamoie MG 31

In a 100 ml flask, to a solution of the ligand having formula (L1 ) (293 mg; 1.39 mmoles), obtained as described in Example 1 , in toluene (20 ml), iron (ill) chloride (FeCh) (225 mg: 1.39 mmoles; molar ratio L1/Fe = 1 ) was added: the mixture obtained was maintained, under stirring, at ambient temperature, for 3 hours. The supernatant was then removed through evaporation at reduced pressure and the residue obtained was washed with heptane (2 x 15 mi) and vacuum dried, at ambient temperature, obtaining 396 mg of a brown solid product corresponding to the complex FeCL(L1 ), equal to a 76% conversion with respect to the iron (III) chloride (FeCh) loaded. Molecular weight (MW): 372.48.

Elementary analysis [found (calculated for C^NuC Fel^)]; C: 45.00% (45.14%), H: 3.69% (3.79%), N: 7.69% (7.52%), Cl: 28.96% (28.55%), Fe: 15.09% (14.99%).

EXAMPLE 4

Synthesis of FeCh(t¾) fsampie MG2081

(MG208;

In a 100 ml flask, to a solution of the ligand having formula (L2) (514 mg; 2.16 mmoles), obtained as described in Example 2, in toluene (20 ml), iron (III) chloride (FeCh) (350 g; 2.16 mmoles; olar ratio L2/Fe = 1 ) was added: the mixture obtained was maintained, under stirring, at ambient temperature, for 3 hours. The supernatant was then removed through evaporation at reduced pressure and the residue obtained was washed with heptane (2 x 15 ml) and vacuum dried, at ambient temperature, obtaining 821 g of a red solid product corresponding to the complex FeC (L2), equal to a 95% conversion with respect to the iron (III) chloride (Feds) loaded.

Molecular weight (MW): 400.53.

Elementary analysis [found (calculated for CieH sC FeN ?. )]: C: 48.09% (47.97%), H: 4.71 % (4.53%), N: 6.65% (6.99%), Cl: 25.96% (26.55%), Fe: 14.08% (13.94%).

EXAMPLE 5

Synthesis of

In a 100 ml flask, to a solution of the ligand having formula (L1 ) (527 mg; 2 51 mmoles), obtained as described in Example 1 , in toluene (20 ml), iron (II) chloride (FeCh) (319 mg; 2.51 mmoles; molar ratio L1/Fe = 1 ) was added: the mixture obtained was maintained, under stirring, at ÷10Q°C, for 3 hours. The supernatant was then removed through evaporation at reduced pressure and the residue obtained was washed with heptane (2 x 15 ml) and vacuum dried, at ambient temperature, obtaining 521 mg of a light blue solid product corresponding to the complex FeCl 2 (L1 ), equal to a 62% conversion with respect to the iron (II) chloride (Fe(¾) loaded.

Molecular weight (MW): 337.03

Elementary analysis [found (calculated for Ci4Hi 4 Cl2FeN 2 )]: C: 49.10% (49.89%), H: 4.38% (4.19%), N: 8.21 % (8.31 %), Cl: 21.42% (21.04%), Fe: 16.82% (16.57%).

EXAMPLE 6

Synthesis of FeCfe(L2) (sample MG 12?

In a 100 ml flask, to a solution of the ligand having formula (L2) (540 mg; 2.27 mmoles), obtained as described in Example 2, in toluene (20 ml), iron (II) chloride (FeCh) (288 mg; 2 27 mmoles; molar ratio L2/Fe = 1 ) was added: the mixture obtained was maintained, under stirring, at +100°C, for 3 hours. The supernatant was then removed through evaporation at reduced pressure and the residue obtained was washed with heptane (2 x 15 ml) and vacuum dried, at ambient temperature, obtaining 865 mg of a light blue solid product corresponding to the complex FeCl 2 (L2), equal to a 80% conversion with respect to the iron (II) chloride (FeC ) loaded.

Molecular weight (MW): 365.08.

Elementary analysis [found (calculated for CieH-ieCbFelSL ? )]: C: 52.12% (52.64%), H: 4.65% (4.96%), N: 7.26% (7.67%), Cl: 19.02% (19.42%), Fe: 15.04% (15.30%).

EXAMPLE 7 (26189)

2 ml of isoprene equal to about 1.36 g were placed in a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently, 14 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to +2Q°C. Then, methylaiuminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (0.315 ml; 5x1 O 4 moles, equal to about 0.029 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeCbCLI ) complex [sample MG215] (1 ,7 mi of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 1 x1Q ~5 , equal to about 3.37 mg) obtained as described in Example 5. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 5 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ! of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 1.36 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 100%, having a mainly alternating c/s-1 ,4/3,4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 4 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 5 shows the 1 H-NMR (top) and 1,3 C-NMR (bottom) spectra of the po!yisoprene obtained. Table 1 A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the oiefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

EXAMPLE 8 (ZG188) 2 ml of isoprene equal to about 1 38 g were placed In a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently, 13 82 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to ÷20°C. Then, methylaluminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (0 315 mi; 5x10 4 moles, equal to about 0.029 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeCi 2 (L2) complex [sample MG212] (1.87 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 1x10 s , equal to about 3.74 mg) obtained as described in Example 6 Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 10 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 1.36 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 100%, having a mainly alternating c/s- 1 ,4/3,4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 6 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 7 shows the ^-N R (bottom) and "l3 C-NMR (top) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the olefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

EXAMPLE 9 0R2MΊ

5 ml of isoprene equal to about 3.4 g were placed in a 100 ml test tube. Subsequently,

31.3 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to -10°C. Then, metbyla!uminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (0.13 ml; 2x10 4 moles, equal to about 0.012 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeCl 2 (L2) complex [sample MG212] (3.6 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 2x10 -5 , equal to about 7.3 g) obtained as described in Example 6. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 240 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 mi of a methanol solution containing 4% of irganox ® 1078 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 2.49 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 73.2%, having an alternating c/s-1 ,4/3,4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 8 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 9 shows the ^-NMR (top) and 13 C-NMR (bottom) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1 A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the olefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

EXAMPLE 10 (fP29¾1

5 ml of isoprene equal to about 3.4 g were placed in a 100 ml test tube. Subsequently,

31.3 ml of heptane were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to ÷25°C. Then, methyla!uminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (0.13 ml; 2x10 -4 moles, equal to about 0.012 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeCI 2 (L2) complex [sample MG212] (3.6 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 2x10 ~5 , equal to about 7.3 g) obtained as described in Example 6. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 360 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 3.4 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 100%, having an alternating c/s-1 ,4/3,4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 10 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 1 1 shows the Ή-NiVIR (top) and 13 G-NMR (bottom) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1 A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the olefinic zone of the ,3 C-NMR spectrum. EXAMPLE 11 PR205/A)

2 ml of isoprene equal to about 1.38 g were placed in a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently, 13.82 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to +20°C. Then, methylaluminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (0.315 ml; 5x1 O 4 moles, equal to about 0.029 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeCbCLI) complex [sample MG213] (1.87 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/mi; 1 x1Q 5 , equal to about 3.74 g) obtained as described in Example 3. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 5 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 mi of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 1.38 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 100%, having an alternating c/s- 1 ,4/3, 4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 12 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 13 shows the 1 H-NMR (fop) and 13 C-NMR (bottom) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the ofefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

EXAMPLE 12 (IP206/A)

2 ml of isoprene equal to about 1.36 g were placed in a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently, 13.72 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to ÷20°C. Then, methylaluminoxane (MAG) in toluene solution (0.315 ml; 5x10 4 moles, equal to about 0.029 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeGl 3 (L2) complex [sample MG208] (2 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 1 x1 O 5 , equal to about 4 mg) obtained as described in Example 4. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 5 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 mi of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 1.36 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 100%, having an alternating c/s-1 ,4/3,4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 14 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 15 shows the 1 H-NMR (top) and 13 C-NMR (bottom) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the oiefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

2 ml of isoprene equal to about 1.36 g were placed in a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently, 13.9 ml of heptane were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to +20°C. Then, ethy!aluminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (0.063 ml; 1x1 O 4 moles, equal to about 0.058 g) was added and, subsequently, the FeCi. 3 (L2) complex [sample MG208] (2 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 1x10 5 , equal to about 4 mg) obtained as described in Example 4. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 20 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 0.544 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 40%, having an alternating c/s-1, 4/3, 4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 16 shows the FT-IR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 17 shows the ^-NMR (top) and 13 C-NMR (bottom) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1 A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the oiefinic zone of the 13 G-NMR spectrum.

2 mi of isoprene equal to about 1.36 g were placed in a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently, 13.4 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to ÷20°C. Then, tri-/so-buiySaluminum (TIBA) (0.07 ml; 3x10 4 moles, equal to about 0.0595 g) was added and, subsequently, the Rb(¾(I_2) complex [sample MG2Q8] (1 .87 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 1 x1 G 5 , equal to about 3.74 mg) obtained as described in Example 4. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at ambient temperature, for 2880 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 0.481 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 35.4%, having an alternating c/s-1 ,4/3,4 structure: further characteristics of the process and of the polyisoprene obtained are reported in Table 1.

Figure 18 shows the FT-!R spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained.

Figure 19 shows the ^-NMR (top) and 53 G-NMR (bottom) spectra of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1 A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

EXAMPLE 15

Synthesis of the catalytic system Al£tsCI

The catalytic system AIEt2CI/ d(OCOC7Hi 5 )3/AI( i Bu)3 was prepared as described in Ricci G. et al,“Polymer Communications" (1987), Vol. 28, Issue 8, pag. 223-226, mentioned above.

For that purpose, neodymium 2-ethylhexanoate [Nd(OCOC7Hi 5 )3] (2 38x10 ~4 moles; 0.136 grams) and heptane (9.6 ml) were piaced into a 25 ml test tube. The solution thus obtained, was kept, under stirring, at ambient temperature, for 1 hour. Subsequently, diethy!aluminum chloride (AIEt 2 CI) in heptane solution [7.5x1 O 3 moles; 0.09 grams; 0.47 ml of a heptane solution 1/5 (v/v)j was added, drop by drop: a white/light blue suspension was formed which was kept, under vigorous stirring, for 15 minutes. Subsequently, tri-/so- butylalum!num (TIBA) (7.1x1 O 3 moles; 1.42 grams; 1.8 mi) was added: everything was kept, under stirring, at ambient temperature for 24 hours, obtaining a solution of the catalytic system AIEί 2 OI/^(OOOϋ 7 5 ) 3 /A!('Bu) 3 having a concentration of neodymium equal to 0.02 M.

EXAMPLE 18 (comparative)

Synthesis of having a mainly 1.4 structure

2 ml of isoprene equal to about 1.38 g were placed into a 25 ml test tube. Subsequently 15.5 ml of heptane were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to ÷0°C. Then the catalytic system A!EΪ 2 0I/N 0ϋ00 7 H ΐ5 ) 3 /AI('Bϋ)3 (0.25 ml of heptane solution having a concentration of neodymium equal to 0.02 M; 5x1 O 6 moles) was added, obtained as described in Example 15. Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at +0°C, for 60 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1078 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 1.03 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 75.7%, having a mainly c/s-1 ,4 structure (> 97%).

Figure 1A reports the 13 C-NMR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the olefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum. EXAMPLE 17 (comparative)

Synthesis o ooMsoorene having a mainly syndic taci;c 3 4 structure

The polyisoprene having a mainly syndiotactic 3,4 structure was obtained by operating as described in Ricci G. et ai,“Journal of Molecular Catatalysls A: Chemical’ (2003), 204- 205, pag. 287-293, mentioned above

For that purpose, 2 m! of isoprene equal to about 1 36 g and toluene (10 9 mi) were placed into a 25 ml test tube. The temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to -30 C, then methyla!uminoxane (MAO) in toluene solution (3.8 ml; 6x10 3 moles, equal to about 0.348 g) was added and, subsequently the complex FeCl2(bipy)2 (1.3 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 2 mg/ml; 6x1 O 6 moles, equal to about 2.6 g). Everything was kept under magnetic stirring, at -30°C, for 80 minutes. The polymerization was then quenched by adding 2 ml of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric acid. The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 40 ml of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 1.233 g of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 90.5%, having a mainly syndiotactic 3,4 structure (> 80%).

Figure 1 A reports the 13 C-NMR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1 A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the olefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum. EXAMPLE 18 (comparative)

Synthesis of polyisoprene with a perfectly alternating c<¾-l ,4-a/ft-3,4 structure

The polyisoprene with a perfectly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/f-3,4 structure was obtained by operating as described in Ricci G. et al,“Macromolecules' (2009), Vol. 42(23), pag. 9263- 9267, mentioned above.

For that purpose, 5 ml of isoprene equal to about 3.4 g were placed in a 50 ml test tube. Subsequently, 6.6 ml of toluene were added and the temperature of the solution thus obtained was brought to +22°C. Then, methylaluminoxane (MAO) in toiuene solution (0.63 ml; 1x1 O 3 moles, equal to about 0.058 g) was added and, subsequently, the

CoCi2(P ,1 PrPh2)2 complex (5.9 ml of toluene solution at a concentration of 1 mg/ml; 1 x10 5 , equal to about 5 9 g). Everything was kept under stirring, at ambient temperature, for 140 minutes The polymerization was then quenched by adding 5 mi of methanol containing some drops of hydrochloric add, The polymer obtained was then coagulated by adding 60 m! of a methanol solution containing 4% of Irganox ® 1076 antioxidant (Ciba) obtaining 2.26 grams of polyisoprene for a conversion equal to 66 5%, having a perfectly alternating c/s-1 ,4-a/t-3,4 structure.

Figure 1A reports the 13 G-NMR spectrum of the polyisoprene obtained. Table 1A shows the attribution of the different peaks present in the olefinic zone of the 13 C-NMR spectrum.

o

TABLE 1

Polymerization of isoprene with catalytic systems comprising pyridy! iron complexes

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