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Title:
CATALYST FOR THE POLYMERIZATION OF OLEFINS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/091320
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Catalysts systems for the polymerization of olefins CH2=CHR, wherein R is an alkyl, cycloalkyl or aryl radical having 1-12 carbon atoms, comprising (A) a solid catalyst component comprising Ti, Mg, and halogen (B) an aluminum alkyl compound and (C) a halogenated cyclic ether compound show improved polymerization activity.

Inventors:
DALL OCCO TIZIANO (IT)
LIGUORI DARIO (IT)
MORINI GIAMPIERO (IT)
VITALE GIANNI (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2014/077686
Publication Date:
June 25, 2015
Filing Date:
December 15, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BASELL POLIOLEFINE SRL (IT)
International Classes:
C08F10/00; C08F4/649
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009150111A12009-12-17
Foreign References:
US6228957B12001-05-08
US5055535A1991-10-08
US5990251A1999-11-23
Other References:
DATABASE CA [online] CHEMICAL ABSTRACTS SERVICE, COLUMBUS, OHIO, US; HE, SHUYAN ET AL: "Preparation of catalyst composition for ethylene gas-phase", XP002722359, retrieved from STN Database accession no. 2008:964997
DATABASE CA [online] CHEMICAL ABSTRACTS SERVICE, COLUMBUS, OHIO, US; RAZUVAEV, G. A.: "Catalytic polymerization of propylene upon treatment with titanium compounds", XP002722357, retrieved from STN Database accession no. 1961:115169
DATABASE CA [online] CHEMICAL ABSTRACTS SERVICE, COLUMBUS, OHIO, US; RAZUVAEV, G. A. ET AL: "Effect of polar additives on stereospecific polymerization of propylene", XP002722358, retrieved from STN Database accession no. 1960:106686
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GIBERTI, Stefano (Intellectual Property, P. le Donegani 12 Ferrara, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A catalyst system for the (co)polymerization of ethylene, comprising (A) a solid catalyst component comprising Ti, Mg, halogen, (B) an aluminum alkyl compound and (C) an halogenated cyclic ether having at least three carbon atoms in the ring.

2. The catalyst system according to claim 1 in which the halogenated cyclic ether has at least four carbon atoms.

3. The catalyst system according to claim 1 in which the halogenated cyclic contain two or more halogen atoms.

4. The catalyst system according to claim 1 in which the halogens are CI or Br.

5. The catalyst system according to claim 1 in which the halogenated ether is selected from 2-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3-dichloro-tetrahydrofurane and 2,3-dichloro-tetrahydropyrane.

6. A process for the preparation of olefin (co)polymer carried out by polymerizing olefins in the presence of a catalyst system comprising (A) a solid catalyst component comprising Ti, Mg and halogen (B) an aluminum alkyl compound and (C) a halogenated cyclic ether.

Description:
TITLE

CATALYST FOR THE POLYMERIZATION OF OLEFINS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present disclosure relates to catalysts for the polymerization of olefins, in particular ethylene and its mixtures with olefins CH2=CHR, wherein R is an alkyl, cycloalkyl or aryl radical having 1-12 carbon atoms, comprising a solid catalyst component comprising Ti, Mg, halogen and optionally an electron donor, an aluminum alkyl compound and halogenated cyclic ethers as activity enhancers. The catalysts of the disclosure are suitably used in any olefin polymerization process to prepare olefin homo or copolymers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The polymerization activity is a very important factor in any polymerization process. For a given catalyst system, it may depends on the polymerization conditions, such as temperature and pressure. However, once fixed the polymerization conditions the activity depends strictly on the catalyst system and when the activity is not satisfactory the amount of catalyst fed to the reactor must be increased or its residence time made longer. In any case it is clear that the above solution penalize the plant operability for the economic point of view as the increase of catalyst fed means increase of the cost per unity of polymer produced, while the increase of the residence time means a lower productivity of the plant.

[0003] In view of this importance, the need of increase the catalyst activity is always felt. The Ziegler-Natta catalyst are generally obtained by reacting an aluminum alkyl compound with a solid catalyst component comprising a magnesium halide and a titanium compound containing at least a Ti-halogen bond. As the catalyst component is responsible for both the activity and the polymer properties, once the catalyst system has been chosen for industrial production it is changed for a different one having higher activity, only if the new one maintains basically unaltered the polymer properties. This is the reason why it is needed to modify the catalyst activity of a certain catalyst system without changing its capability to produce a polymer with certain properties. [0004] Particularly in the ethylene polymerization processes, the attempt for increasing the activity, usually comprise the use of halogenated hydrocarbon compounds as activity enhancer. Such a use, in particular that of halogenated alkyls, is disclosed for example in USP 5,863,995, and USP 5,990,251. Such halogenated alkyls seem to show some criticality when a given threshold amount is used thereby causing a fall of catalyst activity instead of an increase. In W02009/150111 halogenated alkyl compounds in which the halogens are linked to secondary carbon atoms have been tested showing results in line or better than the corresponding halogenated alkyls in which the halogen is linked to a primary hydrocarbon.

[0005] In some cases, the catalysts systems used also contain an external donor added as a modifier of the polymer properties. In US 5,055,535 linear or cyclic monoethers have been used as external donors with the effect of narrowing the molecular weight distribution while, at the same time, reducing catalyst activity (Example 1).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The applicant has now found that when halogenated cyclic ethers are used as catalyst modifiers it is possible to get increased catalyst activity without impacting the polymer properties.

[0007] It is therefore an object of the present invention a catalyst system for the (co)polymerization of olefins, comprising (A) a solid catalyst component comprising Ti, Mg, halogen, (B) an aluminum alkyl compound and (C) an halogenated cyclic ether having at least three carbon atoms in the ring.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0008] Preferably, the halogenated cyclic ether has at least four carbon atoms. In a particularly preferred embodiment said ethers contain two or more halogen atoms.

[0009] The halogenated cyclic ether can be either a mono or polyether. Preferably, it is halogenated cyclic monoether.

[0010] The one or more of the hydrogen atoms of the ether ring can be substituted with one or more hydrocarbon groups having from 1 to 20 carbon atoms. Preferably, they selected from alkyl groups having from 1 to 10 and more preferably from 1 to 5 carbon atoms. In a particularly preferred embodiment the only one hydrogen atom is substituted by an alkyl group. [0011] Preferred halogens are CI, Br and F with CI and Br the more preferred. CI is the most preferred. The halogen atoms can either be in the ether ring or replace a hydrogen atom of the hydorocarbon substituent attached to the ether ring.

[0012] Preferred cyclic ethers are 2-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3- diChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,5-diChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 3,3-diChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 3,4- diChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3,3-triChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3,5-triChloro-tetrahydrofuranee, 2,3,4,5-tetraChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3,5, 5-tetraChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3,3,5-tetraChloro- tetrahydrofurane, 2,2,3,4,5-pentaChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,2,3,5, 5-pentaChloro- tetrahydrofurane, 2,3,3, 5,5-pentaChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,2,3,4,5, 5-hexaChloro- tetrahydrofurane, 2,2,3,3,5,5-hexaChloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2-Chloromethyl-tetrahydrofurane, 3- Chloromethyl-tetrahydrofurane, 3-Bromomethyl-tetrahydrofurane, 2Ethyl-3-Chloromethyl- tetrahydrofurane, 2-Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 3-Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 4-Chloro- tetrahydropyrane, 2,3-diChloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2,3,3-triChloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2-methyl-3- Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2-Methyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2-Ethyl-3-Chloro- tetrahydropyrane, 2-Propyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2-Butyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2- Methyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2-Ethyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2-propyl-3-Chloro- tetrahydrofurane, 2-isopropyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2-butyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2- pentyl-3-Chloro-tetrahydrofurane, 2,3-diBromo-tetrahydropyrane, 2-methyl-3-diBromo- tetrahydropyrane, 2-ethyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydropyrane, 2-propyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydropyrane, 2-butyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydropyrane, 2-pentyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydropyrane, 2,3-diBromo- tetrahydrofurane, 2-Methyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydrofurane, 2-Ethyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydrofurane, 2- Propyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydrofurane, 2-Butyl-3-diBromo-tetrahydrofurane, 2-Pentyl-3-diBromo- tetrahydrofurane, 2-methoxy-3-Chloro-tetrahydropyrane, 2-methoxy-3-Bromo-tetrahydropyrane, 2-chloro-l,4-dioxane and 2,3-dichloro-l,4-dioxane.

[0013] The halogenated ether compound (C) is used in amounts such as to give a molar ratio (C)/Ti (where Ti is the titanium molar amount within component (A)), ranging from 0.1 to 50 preferably from 1 to 25 and more preferably from 1 to 10.

[0014] In a preferred aspect the catalyst component of the present disclosure comprises a Ti compound having at least one Ti-halogen bond supported on a magnesium chloride which is preferably magnesium dichloride and more preferably magnesium dichloride in active form. In the context of the present application the term magnesium chloride means magnesium compounds having at least one magnesium chloride bond. As mentioned before, the catalyst component may also contain groups different from halogen, in any case in amounts lower than 0.5 mole for each mole of titanium and preferably lower than 0.3.

[0015] In the catalyst component of the present disclosure the average pore radius value, for porosity due to pores up to Ιμιη, is in the range from 600 to 1200 A.

[0016] The particles of solid component have substantially spherical morphology and average diameter comprised between 5 and 150 μιη, preferably from 20 to 100 μιη and more preferably from 30 to 90 μιη. As particles having substantially spherical morphology, those are meant wherein the ratio between the greater axis and the smaller axis is equal to or lower than 1.5 and preferably lower than 1.3.

[0017] The magnesium dichloride in the active form is characterized by X-ray spectra in which the most intense diffraction line which appears in the spectrum of the non active chloride

(lattice distanced of 2,56A) is diminished in intensity and is broadened to such an extent that it becomes totally or partially merged with the reflection line falling at lattice distance (d) of 2.95A. When the merging is complete the single broad peak generated has the maximum of intensity which is shifted towards angles lower than those of the most intense line.

[0018] The preferred titanium compounds have the formula Ti(OR n ) n X y _ n , wherein n is a number comprised between 0 and 0.5 inclusive, y is the valence of titanium, R n is an alkyl, cycloalkyl or aryl radical having 1-8 carbon atoms and X is halogen. In particular R 11 can be ethyl, isopropyl, n-butyl, isobutyl, 2-ethylhexyl, n-octyl and phenyl, (benzyl); X is preferably chlorine.

[0019] If y is 4, n varies preferably from 0 to 0.02; if y is 3, n varies preferably from 0 to 0.015. TiC14 is especially preferred.

[0020] The solid components of the present disclosure may comprise an electron donor compound (internal donor), selected for example among ethers, esters, amines and ketones. The electron donor compound may be used in amount such as to give ED/Ti ratios from 0.1 to 6, preferably from 0.5 to 5.

[0021] Preferred electron donor compounds are selected from esters of aliphatic or aromatic carboxylic acids such as phthalates, acetates, in particular ethylacetate, benzoates, alkoxybenzenes described in WO2011/015553, cyclic alkyl ethers such as tetrahydrofuranee and diethers. Among them, ethylacetate and tetrahyfdrofuranee being the most preferred. [0022] In addition to the above mentioned characteristics, the non-stereospecific solid catalyst component (a) may show a porosity PF determined with the mercury method ranging from 0.2 to 0.80 cm 3 /g and more preferably from 0.3 to 0.70 cm 3 /g usually in the range 0.35-0.60 cm 3 /g.

[0023] The surface area measured by the BET method is preferably lower than 80 and in particular comprised between 10 and 70 m /g. The porosity measured by the BET method is generally comprised between 0.10 and 0.50, preferably from 0.10 to 0.40 cm /g.

[0024] The particles of solid component have substantially spherical morphology and average diameter comprised between 5 and 150 μιη, preferably from 20 to 100 μιη and more preferably from 30 to 80 μιη. As particles having substantially spherical morphology, those are meant wherein the ratio between the greater axis and the smaller axis is equal to or lower than 1.5 and preferably lower than 1.3.

[0025] A method suitable for the preparation of spherical components mentioned above comprises a step (a) in which a compound MgCl 2 .mR in OH, wherein 0.3 < m < 1.7 and R EI is an alkyl, cycloalkyl or aryl radical having 1-12 carbon atoms is reacted with the said titanium compound of the formula Ti(OR I ) n X 4 _ n , in which n, y, X and R 1 have the same meaning as already defined.

[0026] In this case MgCl 2 .mR in OH represents a precursor of Mg dihalide. These kind of compounds can generally be obtained by mixing alcohol and magnesium chloride in the presence of an inert hydrocarbon immiscible with the adduct, operating under stirring conditions at the melting temperature of the adduct (100-130°C). Then, the emulsion is quickly quenched, thereby causing the solidification of the adduct in form of spherical particles. Representative methods for the preparation of these spherical adducts are reported for example in USP 4,469,648, USP 4,399,054, and WO98/44009. Another useable method for the spherulization is the spray cooling described for example in USP 5,100,849 and 4,829,034. Adducts having the desired final alcohol content can be obtained by directly using the selected amount of alcohol directly during the adduct preparation. However, if adducts with increased porosity are to be obtained it is convenient to first prepare adducts with more than 1.7 moles of alcohol per mole of MgC12 and then subjecting them to a thermal and/or chemical dealcoholation process. The thermal dealcoholation process is carried out in nitrogen flow at temperatures comprised between 50 and 150°C until the alcohol content is reduced to the value ranging from 0.3 to 1.7. A process of this type is described in EP 395083.

[0027] Generally these dealcoholated adducts are also characterized by a porosity (measured by mercury method ) due to pores with radius due to pores with radius up to Ο.ΐμιη ranging from 0.15 to 2.5 cm 3 /g preferably from 0.25 to 1.5 cm 3 /g.

[0028] In the reaction of step (a) the molar ratio Ti/Mg is stoichiometric or higher; preferably this ratio is higher than 3. Still more preferably a large excess of titanium compound is used. Preferred titanium compounds are titanium tetrahalides, in particular TiCl 4. The reaction with the Ti compound can be carried out by suspending the adduct in cold TiCl 4 (generally 0°C); the mixture is heated up to 80-140°C and kept at this temperature for 0.5-8 preferably from 0.5 to 3 hours. The excess of titanium compound can be separated at high temperatures by filtration or sedimentation and siphoning. The step (a) can be repeated twice or more. In cases of catalysts containing an electron donor compound, this latter can be added together with the titanium compound in the reaction system for reaction with the MgCl 2 .mR in OH adduct.

[0029] However, it constitute a preferred embodiment of the invention adding the electron donor compound separately in a further step after the completion of the reaction between the adduct and the titanium compound as described in WO2004/106388.

[0030] The catalyst component (B) of the invention is selected from Al-alkyl compounds possibly halogenated. In particular, it is selected from Al-trialkyl compounds, for example Al- trimethyl, Al-triethyl , Al-tri-n-butyl , Al-triisobutyl are preferred. The Al/Ti ratio is higher than 1 and is generally comprised between 5 and 800.

[0031] The above-mentioned components (A)-(C) can be fed separately into the reactor where, under the polymerization conditions can exploit their activity. It may be advantageous to carry out a pre-contact of the above components, optionally in the presence of small amounts of olefins, for a period of time ranging from 0.1 to 120 minutes preferably in the range from 1 to 60 minutes. The pre-contact can be carried out in a liquid diluent at a temperature ranging from 0 to 90°C preferably in the range of 20 to 70°C.

[0032] The so formed catalyst system can be used directly in the main polymerization process or alternatively, it can be pre-polymerized beforehand. A pre-polymerization step is usually preferred when the main polymerization process is carried out in the gas phase. The prepolymerization can be carried out with any of the olefins CH 2 =CHR, where R is H or a CI -CIO hydrocarbon group. In particular, it is especially preferred to pre-polymerize ethylene, propylene or mixtures thereof with one or more a-olefins, said mixtures containing up to 20% in moles of a- olefin, forming amounts of polymer from about 0.1 g per gram of solid component up to about 1000 g per gram of solid catalyst component. The pre-polymerization step can be carried out at temperatures from 0 to 80°C, preferably from 5 to 70°C, in the liquid or gas phase. The pre- polymerization step can be performed in-line as a part of a continuous polymerization process or separately in a batch process. The batch pre-polymerization of the catalyst of the invention with ethylene in order to produce an amount of polymer ranging from 0.5 to 20 g per gram of catalyst component is particularly preferred. The pre-polymerized catalyst component can also be subject to a further treatment with a titanium compound before being used in the main polymerization step. In this case the use of TiCl 4 is particularly preferred. The reaction with the Ti compound can be carried out by suspending the prepolymerized catalyst component in the liquid Ti compound optionally in mixture with a liquid diluent; the mixture is heated to 60-120°C and kept at this temperature for 0.5- 2 hours.

[0033] The catalysts of the invention can be used in any kind of polymerization process both in liquid and gas-phase processes. Catalysts having small particle size, (less than 40μιη) are particularly suited for slurry polymerization in an inert medium, which can be carried out continuously stirred tank reactor or in loop reactors. Catalysts having larger particle size are particularly suited for gas-phase polymerization processes which can be carried out in agitated or fluidized bed gas-phase reactors.

[0034] As already mentioned, the catalysts of the present disclosure show a high polymerization activity in the (co)polymerization of ethylene.

[0035] In addition, to the ethylene homo and copolymers mentioned above the catalysts of the present invention are also suitable for preparing very-low-density and ultra-low-density polyethylenes (VLDPE and ULDPE, having a density lower than 0.920g/cm 3 , to 0.880 g/cm 3 ) consisting of copolymers of ethylene with one or more alpha-olefins having from 3 to 12 carbon atoms, having a mole content of units derived from ethylene of higher than 80%; elastomeric copolymers of ethylene and propylene and elastomeric terpolymers of ethylene and propylene with smaller proportions of a diene having a content by weight of units derived from ethylene of between about 30 and 70%. [0036] The following examples are given in order to further describe the present invention in a non-limiting manner.

EXAMPLES

[0037] CHARACTERIZATION

[0038] The properties are determined according to the following methods:

MIE flow index: ASTM-D 1238 condition E

MIF flow index: ASTM-D 1238 condition F

MIP flow index: ASTM D 1238 condition P

Bulk density: DIN-53194

[0039] General procedure for the HDPE polymerization test

[0040] Ethylene Polymerization in iso-hexane solvent

[0041] A 4.5-liter stainless- steel autoclave equipped with a magnetic stirrer, temperature and pressure indicator, feeding line for iso-hexane, ethylene, and hydrogen, was used and purified by fluxing pure nitrogen at 70°C for 60 minutes. Then, a solution of 1550 cm3 of iso-hexane containing 5.00 cm3 of 8 % by wt/vol TEAL/iso-hexane was introduced at a temperature of 30°C under nitrogen flow. In a separate 200 cm3 round bottom glass bottle were successively introduced, 50 cm3 of anhydrous iso-hexane, 1.25 cm3 of 8 % by wt/vol, TEAL/iso-hexane solution, 0.020÷0.030 grams of the solid catalyst as prepared in example 1 and the amount of promoter reported in table 1. They were mixed together, aged 10 minutes at room temperature and introduced under nitrogen flow into the reactor. The autoclave was closed, then the temperature was raised to 85°C, hydrogen (3 bars partial pressure) and ethylene (7.0 bars partial pressure) were added.

[0042] Under continuous stirring, the total pressure was maintained at 85°C for 120 minutes by feeding ethylene. At the end the reactor was depressurized and the temperature was dropped to

30°C.

[0043] The recovered polymer was dried at 40°C under vacuum and analysed. The obtained results are reported in Table 1. [0044] EXAMPLE 1-7 and Comparison Example 1

[0045] Preparation of the solid component (A)

[0046] A magnesium chloride and alcohol adduct containing about 3 mols of alcohol was prepared following the method described in example 2 of USP 4,399,054, but working at 2000 RPM instead of 10000 RPM. The adduct were subject to a thermal treatment, under nitrogen stream, over a temperature range of 50-150 °C until a weight content of 24.4% of alcohol was reached.

[0047] Into a 2 L four-necked round flask, purged with nitrogen, 1 L of TiCl 4 was introduced at 0°C. Then, at the same temperature, 70 g of a spherical MgCl 2 /EtOH adduct containing 24.4 %wt of ethanol and prepared as described above were added under stirring. The temperature was raised to 130 °C in 2 h and maintained for 30 min. Then, the stirring was discontinued, the solid product was allowed to settle and the supernatant liquid was siphoned off. A new amount of fresh TiCl 4 was added to the flask, such to reach the initial liquid volume. The temperature was maintained at 115°C for 15 minutes. Again, the solid was allowed to settle, and the liquid was siphoned off. The solid was then washed three times with anhydrous iso-hexane (400 mL at each washing) at 60 °C and twice at 40°C.

[0048] At the end the residual solid was suspended in 600 mL of dry iso-hexane. At the same temperature, under stirring, 92 ml of Ethylacetate were added dropwise.

[0049] The temperature was raised to 50 °C and the mixture was stirred for 2 hours. Then, the stirring was discontinued, the solid product was allowed to settle and the supernatant liquid was siphoned off.

[0050] The solid was washed twice with anhydrous hexane (2 x 100 mL) at 40 °C, recovered, dried under vacuum and analysed.

Mg= 15.0 %wt, Ti=2.4 wt%, AcOEt= 26.9 %wt

[0051] The solid catalyst component (A) was employed in the ethylene polymerization according to the general procedure using the type and amount of promoter compound (C) reported in table 1 together with the polymerization results. TABLE 1

THF= tetrahydrofurane

2,3Cl 2 -THF= 2,3-dichloro-tetrahydrofurane 2,3C1 2 -THP= 2,3-dichloro-tetrahydropyrane 2(ClMe)THF= 2-chloromethyl-tetrahydrofurane