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Title:
PROCESS FOR THE PREPARATION OF A BRANCHED POLYOLEFIN
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/102690
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a process for the preparation of a branched polyolefin via the polymerization of an olefin monomer and an alefin monomer comprising a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent. The invention moreover relates to polyolefins obtained by said process.

Inventors:
DUCHATEAU ROBERT (NL)
BOUYAHYI MILOUD (NL)
JASINSKA-WALC LIDIA (NL)
ZUIDEVELD MARTIN ALEXANDER (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2015/081203
Publication Date:
June 30, 2016
Filing Date:
December 23, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SABIC GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES BV (NL)
International Classes:
C08F2/38; C08F10/02; C08F210/16
Foreign References:
US5569730A1996-10-29
US6258902B12001-07-10
US6028151A2000-02-22
Other References:
SMRUTI B. AMIN ET AL: "Alkenylsilane Effects on Organotitanium-Catalyzed Ethylene Polymerization. Toward Simultaneous Polyolefin Branch and Functional Group Introduction", JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, vol. 128, no. 14, 1 April 2006 (2006-04-01), pages 4506 - 4507, XP055196531, ISSN: 0002-7863, DOI: 10.1021/ja057947r
SMRUTI B. AMIN ET AL: "Alkenylsilane Structure Effects on Mononuclear and Binuclear Organotitanium-Mediated Ethylene Polymerization: Scope and Mechanism of Simultaneous Polyolefin Branch and Functional Group Introduction", JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, vol. 129, no. 10, 1 March 2007 (2007-03-01), pages 2938 - 2953, XP055196532, ISSN: 0002-7863, DOI: 10.1021/ja0675292
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SABIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP (6160 GA Geleen, NL)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . Process for the preparation of a branched polyolefin, said process comprising the step of:

A) a polymerization step comprising copolymerizing at least one first type of olefin monomer and at least one second type of olefin monomer containing a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent functionality according to Formula 1 a: R100(n- 2)R101Mn+R102 using a catalyst system to obtain a polyolefin having one or multiple main group metal end-functionalized branches; wherein said catalyst system comprises:

i) a metal catalyst or catalyst precursor comprising a metal from Group 3- 10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, and

ii) optionally a co-catalyst;

iii) optionally an additional chain transfer and/or chain shuttling agent; wherein M is a main group metal; n is the oxidation state of M; R100, R1 and R102 of Formula 1 a are each independently selected from the group consisting of a hydride, a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl group, or a hydrocarbyl group Q on the proviso that at least one of R100, R101 and R102 is a hydrocarbyl group Q, wherein hydrocarbyl group Q is according to Formula 1 b:

(Formula 1 b)

wherein Z is bonded to M and Z is a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl group; R105 optionally forms a cyclic group with Z; wherein R103 and R104 and R105 are each independently selected from hydrogen or a hydrocarbyl group;

B) contacting said main group metal hydrocarbyt functionalized branched growth product obtained in step A) with a quenching agent to obtain a branched polyolefin.

2. Process according to claim 1 , wherein the quenching agent in step B) is a protic reagent.

3. Process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein R100, R101 and R102 are hydrocarbyl group Q or wherein R100 is a C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group and

R101 and R102 is hydrocarbyl group Q or wherein R100 and R101 are a C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group and R102 is hydrocarbyl group Q, preferably R100 and R101 are a C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group and R102 is hydrocarbyl group Q, preferably the C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group is a branched or unbranched C4 hydrocarbyl, preferably branched, preferably isobutyl.

4. Process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the hydrocarbyl group Q according to Formula I is a linear a-olefin group or a cyclic unsaturated hydrocarbyl group, preferably oct-7-en-1-yl or 5-alkylenebicyclo[2.2.1]hept-2-ene.

5. Process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein at least one type of olefin monomer comprising a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent is preferably selected from the group consisting of bis(isobutyl)(5-ethylen-yl-2- norbornene) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(7-octen-1 -yl) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(5-hexen-1 -yl) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(3-buten-1 -yl) aluminum, tris(5-ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) aluminum, tris(7-octen-1 -yl) aluminum, tris(5-hexen-1 -yl) aluminum, or tris(3-buten-1 - yl) aluminum, ethyl(5-ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) zinc, ethyl(7-octen-1 -yl) zinc, ethyl(5- hexen-1 -yl) zinc, ethyl(3-buten-1 -yl) zinc, bis(5-ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) zinc, bis(7- octen-1 -yl) zinc, bis(5-hexen-1 -yl) zinc, or bis(3-buten-1 -yl) zinc.

6. The process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the co- catalyst is selected from the group consisting of MAO, DMAO, MMAO, SMAO, fluorinated aryl borane or fluorinated aryl borane borate.

7. The process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the metal catalyst used in step A) comprises a metal from Group 3-10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, preferably Group 3-8, more preferably from Group 3-6 and/or wherein the metal catalyst used in step A) comprises a metal selected from the group consisting of Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, Pd, preferably Ti, Zr or Hf.

8. Process according to claim 7, wherein said metal catalyst is a Group 4 single- site catalyst, which can be a metallocene or a post-metallocene.

9. Process according to claim 8, wherein said catalyst is a C3-, Ci-, or C2- symmetric zirconium metallocene, preferably an indenyl substituted zirconium dihalide, more preferably a bridged bis-indenyl zirconium dihalide, even more preferably rac-dimethylsilyl bis-indenyl zirconium dichloride (rac-Me2Si(lnd)2ZrCl2) or rac-dimethylsilyl bis-(2-methyl-4-phenyl-indenyl) zirconium dichloride (rac-Me2Si(2- Me-4Ph-lnd)2ZrCI2).

10. Process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the polymerization is carried out in the presence of an additional main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent or chain shuttle agent, selected from the group consisting of hydrocarbyl aluminum, hydrocarbyl magnesium, hydrocarbyl zinc, hydrocarbyl gallium, hydrocarbyl boron, hydrocarbyl calcium, aluminum hydride, magnesium hydride, zinc hydride, gallium hydride, boron hydride, calcium hydride and a combination thereof.

1 1 . The process according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the at least one olefin monomer used in step A) is selected from the group consisting of ethylene, propylene, 1 -butene, 4-methyl-1 -pentene, 1 -pentene, 1 -hexene, 1 -heptene, 1 -octene, 1 -nonene, 1 -decene, 1 -undecene, 1 -dodecene, 1 -tridecene, 1 -tetradecene, 1 -pentadecene, 1 -hexadecene, 1 -heptadecene, 1 -octadecene, 1 -cyclopentene, cyclopentene, cyclohexene, norbornene, ethylidene-norbornene, and vinylidene- norbornene and one or more combinations thereof.

12. A branched polyolefin obtained by a process accoding to one or more of the claims 1 to 1 1 , having a number average molecular weight (Mn) between 500 and 1 ,000,000 g/mol and having a polydispersity index (D = Mw/Mn) of between 1 .1 and 5.0.

Description:
Title: Process for the preparation of a branched polyolefin Description The present invention relates to a process for the preparation of a branched polyolefins via the polymerization of an olefin monomer and an alpha-olefin containing main group metal, preferably aluminum, hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent. The invention relates furthermore to a process for the preparation of branched polyolefins having end-functionalized branches. The invention moreover relates to branched polyolefins obtained by said process.

Background

The present invention relates to the preparation of a branched polyolefins, the intermediate products and the processes to obtain these products.

Commercially available polyethylene and polypropylene prepared using standard procedures with Ziegler-Natta or metallocene catalysts have a predominantly linear molecular structure. Although linear polyolefins have many desirable physical properties, they show a variety of melt processing shortcomings, especially the metallocene prepared ones having narrow molecular weight distributions, which typically have a low melt strength. Low melt strength is a problem because it causes local thinning in melt thermoforming, relative weakness in large-part blow molding and flow instabilities in co-extrusion of laminates. One way of overcoming the shortcomings of linear polyolefins is by means of branching, viz. the provision of polymer side chains extending from the polyolefin backbone.

In the prior art different approaches have been developed to prepare branched polyolefins including methods based on chain transfer concepts.

Despite their ubiquitous presence in our society, polyolefins such as polyethylene and polypropylene are not appropriate for several applications as a consequence of their inherently nonpolar character. This nonpolar character is the reason for the poor adhesion, printability and compatibility that can restrict their efficacy. Hence, it is further desirable to prepare branched polyolefins having end functionalized branches with for example polar end groups so that the branched polyolefins also exhibit good adhesion and printability.

This invention is directed towards an improved process for the preparation of branched polyolefins and branched polyolefins having end functionalized branches.

One or more of these aims are obtained by the process according to the present invention.

It is an aim of the present invention to provide a process for the preparation of main group metal, preferably aluminum-functionalized hydrocarbyl chain growth products.

It is an aim of the present invention to provide a process for the preparation of branched polyolefins.

It is an aim of the present invention to provide a process for the preparation of branched polyolefins having end-functionalized branches.

It is moreover an aim of the present invention to provide branched polyolefins.

It is moreover an aim of the present invention to provide branched polyolefins having end-functionalized branches.

One or more of these aims are obtained by the catalyst system according to the present invention.

Summary of the invention

The present invention relates to the novel and inventive process using chain transfer to prepare a main group metal, preferably aluminum, -terminated hydrocarbyl chain growth product and a subsequent quenching reaction to provide branched polyolefins. The present invention relates to both the novel and inventive process and to the products thus obtained.

In a first aspect, the present invention relates to a process for the preparation of a branched polyolefin, comprising the steps of:

A) a polymerization step comprising copolymerizing at least one first type of olefin monomer and at least one second type of olefin monomer containing a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent functionality according to Formula 1 a: R 100 ( n - 2)R 101 M n+ R 102 using a catalyst system to obtain a polyolefin having one or multiple main group metal end-functionalized branches; wherein said catalyst system comprises:

i) a metal catalyst or catalyst precursor comprising a metal from Group 3- 10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, and

ii) optionally a co-catalyst;

iii) optionally an additional chain transfer and/or chain shuttling agent; wherein M is a main group metal; n is the oxidation state of M; R 100 , R 101 and R 102 of Formula 1 a are each independently selected from the group consisting of a hydride, a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl group, or a hydrocarbyl group Q on the proviso that at least one of R 100 , R 101 and R 102 is a hydrocarbyl group Q, wherein hydrocarbyl group Q is according to Formula 1 b:

(Formula 1 b)

wherein Z is bonded to M and Z is a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl group; R 105 optionally forms a cyclic group with Z; wherein R 103 and R 104 and R 105 are each independently selected from hydrogen or a hydrocarbyl group;

B) contacting said main group metal hydrocarbyt functionalized branched growth product obtained in step A) with a quenching agent to obtain a branched polyolefin.

The chain transfer agent functionality can also be a chain shuttling agent functionality. In an embodiment, wherein the quenching agent used in step B) is a protic reagent resulting in hydrolysis and formation of the branched polyolefin. In an embodiment, R 100 , R 101 and R 102 are hydrocarbyl group Q or wherein R 100 is a C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group and R 101 and R 102 are hydrocarbyl group Q or wherein R 100 and R 101 are a C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group and R 102 is hydrocarbyl group Q, preferably R 100 and R 101 are a C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group and R 102 is hydrocarbyl group Q, preferably the C2-C4 hydrocarbyl group is a branched or unbranched C4 hydrocarbyl, preferably branched, preferably isobutyl. In an embodiment, the hydrocarbyl group Q according to Formula 1 b is a linear a- olefin group or a cyclic unsaturated hydrocarbyl group, preferably oct-7-en-1 -yl, 5- alkylenebicyclo[2.2.1 ]hept-2-ene or 5-alkylene-2-norbornene.

In an embodiment, an olefin monomer comprising a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent can be selected from the group consisting of bis(isobutyl)(5- ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(7-octen-1 -yl) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(5-hexen-1 -yl) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(3-buten-1 -yl) aluminum, tris(5- ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) aluminum, tris(7-octen-1 -yl) aluminum, tris(5-hexen-1 -yl) aluminum, or tris(3-buten-1 -yl) aluminum, ethyl(5-ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) zinc, ethyl(7-octen-1 -yl) zinc, ethyl(5-hexen-1 -yl) zinc, ethyl(3-buten-1 -yl) zinc, bis(5- ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) zinc, bis(7-octen-1 -yl) zinc, bis(5-hexen-1 -yl) zinc, or bis(3- buten-1 -yl) zinc. A cyclic unsaturated hydrocarbyl group can thereby lead for example to a high reactivity. In an embodiment, the co-catalyst is selected from the group consisting of MAO, DMAO, MMAO, SMAO and fluorinated aryl borane or fluorinated aryl borate.

In an embodiment, the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor used in step A) comprises a metal from Group 3-8 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, more preferably from Group 3-6 and/or wherein the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor used in step A) comprises a metal selected from the group consisting of Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, Pd, preferably Ti, Zr or Hf.

In an embodiment, said metal catalyst is a Group 4 single-site catalyst, which can be a metallocene or a post-metallocene. In an embodiment, said catalyst precursor is a C 3 -, Ci- or C2- symmetric zirconium metallocene, preferably an indenyl substituted zirconium dihalide, more preferably a bridged bis-indenyl zirconium dihalide, even more preferably rac-dimethyl silyl bis- indenyl zirconium dichloride (rac-Me 2 Si(lnd)2ZrCl2) or rac-dimethylsilyl bis-(2-methyl- 4-phenyl-indenyl) zirconium dichloride (rac-Me2Si(2-Me-4-Ph-lnd)2ZrCl2).

In an embodiment, said metal catalyst precursor is [Me2Si(C5Me4)N(tBu)]TiCl2. In an embodiment, said metal catalyst precursor is [N-(2,6-di(l- methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(2-isopropylphenyl)(a-naphthalen-2- diyl(6-pyridin-2- diyl)methane)]hafnium dimethyl.

In an embodiment, the catalyst system used in step A) further comprises an additional main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent or main group metal hydrocarbyl chain shuttling agent, selected from the group consisting of hydrocarbyl aluminum, hydrocarbyl magnesium, hydrocarbyl zinc, hydrocarbyl gallium, hydrocarbyl boron, hydrocarbyl calcium, aluminum hydride, magnesium hydride, zinc hydride, gallium hydride, boron hydride, calcium hydride and a combination thereof. An additional main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent can also be a chain shuttling agent.

In an embodiment, the at least one olefin monomer used in step A) is selected from the group consisting of ethylene, propylene, 1 -butene, 4-methyl-1 -pentene, 1 -pentene, 1 -hexene, 1 -heptene, 1 -octene, 1 -nonene, 1 -decene, 1 -undecene, 1 -dodecene, 1 - tridecene, 1 -tetradecene, 1 -pentadecene, 1 -hexadecene, 1 -heptadecene, 1 - octadecene, 1 -cyclopentene, cyclopentene, cyclohexene, norbornene, ethylidene- norbornene, and vinylidene-norbornene and one or more combinations thereof.

In an embodiment, said metal catalyst is a group 4 single-site catalyst, which can be a metallocene or a post-metallocene.

In an embodiment, said catalyst precursor is a C 3 -, Ci- or C2- symmetric zirconium metallocene, preferably an indenyl substituted zirconium dihalide, more preferably a bridged bis-indenyl zirconium dihalide, even more preferably rac-dimethyl silyl bis- indenyl zirconium dichloride (rac-Me2Si(lnd)2ZrCl2) or rac-dimethylsilyl bis-(2-methyl- 4-phenyl-indenyl) zirconium dichloride (rac-Me2Si(2-Me-4Ph-lnd)2ZrCl2).

In an embodiment, said catalyst precursor is [N-(2,6-di(l-methylethyl)phenyl)amido )(2- isopropylphenyl)(a-naphthalen-2-diyl(6-pyridin-2-diyl)methan e)]hafnium dimethyl.

In a second aspect, the present invention relates to a branched polyolefin having a number average molecular weight (Mn) between 500 and 1 ,000,000 g/mol and having a polydispersity index (D = M w /M n ) of between 1 .1 and 5.0.

In a third aspect, the present invention relates to a branched polyolefin having chain- end-functionalized branches, having a number average molecular weight (M n ) between 500 and 1 ,000,000 g/mol and having a polydispersity index (D = M w /M n ) of between 1 .1 and 10.0 and wherein at least 30 % of the branched polyolef ins have at least one end functionalized branch, wherein said branched polyolefin having chain-end- functionalized branches has a formula according to Pol-XY a Z 1 bZ 2 c R 1 d (Formula II) on the proviso that when a is 0, b is 0 c is 0 and d is 0, the end-functionalized polyolefin has formula Pol-X (Formula ll-A), then:

X is CI, Br, F or I ,

on the proviso that when a is 0, b is 0, c = 0, d = 1 , the end-functionalized polyolefin has formula Pol-XR 1 (Formula ll-B), then:

X is O or S,

on the proviso that when a is 1 , b is 0, c = 0, d = 1 , the end-functionalized polyolefin has formula Pol-XYR 1 (Formula ll-C), then:

X is C, then Y is NR 2 or O

on the proviso that when a is 1 and b is 1 and c is 0 and d is 1 , the end-functionalized polyolefin has formula Pol-XYZ 1 R 1 (Formula ll-D), then:

when X is C then Y is O, S, NR 2 and Z 1 is O, S,

when X is C, Y is R 2 and Z 1 is N,

when X is C(R 2 )(R 3 ), Y is C(R 4 )(R 5 ) and Z 1 is O or NR 6 ,

when X is CH 2 , Y is C(R 2 ) or Z 1 is C(OR 3 )0 or C(NR 3 R 4 )0 or P(OR 3 )(OR 4 )0, when X is C=0, Y is R 2 and Z 1 is COO,

when X is C, Y is (=NR 2 ), Z 1 is NR 3 ,

on the proviso that when a is 1 , and b is 1 and c is 1 and d is 1 , the formula is Pol- XYZ 1 Z 2 R 1 (Formula ll-E), then: when X is S, Y is O, Z 1 and Z 2 is O,

when X is C, Y is O and Z 1 is R 2 and Z 2 is R 3 ,

when X is C, Y is NR 2 and Z 1 is R 3 and Z 2 is R 4 ,

on the proviso that when a is 1 , and b is 1 and c is 0 and d is 0, the formula is Pol- XYZ 1 (Formula l l-F), then:

when X is C, Y is O and Z 1 is OR 2 ,

wherein R 1 , R 2 , R 3 , R 4 , R 5 , R 6 are each independently selected from the group consisting of H, SiR 7 3 , SnR 7 3 or a C1 -C10 hydrocarbyl, preferably a C1 -C4 hydrocarbyl, where R 7 is selected from the group consisting of C1 -C10 hydrocarbyl, hydride, halide and silylhydrocarbyl.

During step B) a quenching agent is used to remove the main group metal from the oxidized branch ends to obtain a branched polymer, preferably with polar functions at the chain ends.

In an embodiment, the quenching agent is a protic reagent. In a preferred embodiment the protic agent is water or an alcohol or a mixture thereof, preferably water.

It is possible that in a specific embodiment instead of a hydrolysis another type of quenching step is carried out to detach the main group metal from the polymer chain. Said step is then preferably carried out using a non-protic metal-substituting agent.

In an embodiment, said quenching agent is typically a halogen-containing agent releasing a metal-halide or an anhydride releasing a metal-carboxylate. Typical examples are alkyl halides and anhydrides.

Preferably the main group metal(s) to be used according to the present invention can be selected for example from: lithium (Li), sodium (Na), potassium (K), beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), boron (B), aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga), indium (In), germanium (Ge), and tin (Sn), antimony (Sb), and bismuth (Bi) and/or zinc (Zn), preferably from lithium (Li), sodium (Na), potassium (K), beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga), indium (In), germanium (Ge), and tin (Sn), antimony (Sb), and bismuth (Bi) and/or zinc (Zn) or further preferred from aluminum (Al) and/or zinc (Zn) and/or magnesium (Mg). Preferably the catalyst to main group metal mole ratio can be for example < 10, between 5 and 45, preferably between 15 and 35, > 40, between 50 and 90, preferably between 60 and 80, > 100. This may influence the structure of the produced polymer.

A branched polymer obtained according to the present invention can be especially for example a branched polymer with long chain branches (LCB) or a hyper branched polymer.

Definitions

The following definitions are used in the present description and claims to define the stated subject matter. Other terms not cited below are meant to have the generally accepted meaning in the field.

"chain-end-functionalized polyolefin" or "end group-functionalized polyolefin" as used in the present description means: a polyolefin having a functional group on one or both of the ends of the polymer main chain. "main chain" as used in the present description means: the linear polymer chain to which all other chains may be regarded as being pendant. The main chain is preferably also the polymer chain starting from which other chains/side chains may be obtained. The main chain is thus obtained in step A). "side chain" or "branch" or "polymer branch" or "polymer side chain" as used in the present description means: an offshoot from a polymer main chain. These terms can be used interchangeably. This offshoot may be oligomer or polymeric and might be similar or different in nature compared to the polymer main chain. A "side chain" or "branch" or "polymer branches" or "polymer side chains" can thereby also be a random or block copolymer comprising at least two different monomers. "Side-chains" can be obtained starting from the main chain, especially starting from the monomers comprising an main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent functionality. "Side- chains" can thereby be obtained together with the main chain in step A). "long chain branch" as used in the present description means side chain with a length resembling the length of the main chain, that can mean that a long chain branch can have a length corresponding at least to 20 % of the length of the backbone in terms of monomer units and/or average molecular weight (Mn or Mw). A long chain branch can also preferably for example comprise > 100 carbon atoms in the backbone of the long chain branch. ). A long chain branch can also preferably for example long enough for entanglement phenomena, preferably involving the branch , to occur.

"hyper branched polymer" in the sense of the present invention can mean that each branch coming from the main chain of the polymer also comprises at least 1 , at least 2 and/or more branches.

"olefin monomer" or "olefin" as used in the present description means: an a hydrocarbon compound having a carbon-carbon double bond that can be used serves as a building block for a polyolefin.

"a-olefin or alpha-olefin" as used in the present description means: an olefin having a double bond at the a position.

"polyolefin" as used in the present description means: a polymer obtained by the polymerization of olefin monomer.

"polymer chain" as used in the present description means: a chain having a number average molecular weight (Mn) of at least 500 g/mol.

"copolymer" as used in the present description means: a polymer derived from more than one type of monomer.

"main group metal hydrocarbyl functionalized branched growth product" or "main group metal hydrocarbyl growth product" as used in the present description means: main group metal omprising as a ligand a hydrocarbyl chain obtained by chain transfer polymerization (in this case the polyolefin). Said hydrocarbyl chain is a polyolefin chain. In other words, "main group metal hydrocarbyl branched growth product" or "main group metal hydrocarbyl growth product" can have a main group metal at at least one of its chain ends and can be considered synonymous to "main group metal -terminated polyolefin" and "main group metal -functionalized polyolefin." "copolymerization" as used in the present description means: a process to produce a copolymer wherein at least two different types of monomers are used. "Pol" as used in the present description means: polyolefin.

"PE" as used in the present description means: polyethylene.

"LDPE" as used in the present description means: low density polyethylene.

"LDPE" as used in the present description means: low density polyethylene, and "LLDPE" as used in the present description means: linear low density polyethylene. LDPE and LLDPE thereby encompass polyethylene with a density for example between 0.85 and 0.95 kg/m 3 , that can thus also includes especially for example VLDPE and MDPE.

"iPP" as used in the present description means: isotactic polypropylene.

"P4M1 P" as used in the present description means: poly-4-methyl-1 -pentene"

"HT SEC" as used in the present description means: high temperature size exclusion chromatography. Size exclusion chromatography can be used as a measure of both the size and the polydispersity of a polymer.

"polydispersity index (D)" as used in the present description means: a value that indicates the distribution of the sizes of polymer molecules (Mw/Mn). The method of measuring the D is explained below.

"main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent" or "chain transfer agent" as used in the present description means: a compound that is capable of reversibly or irreversibly interchanging hydrocarbyls and/or hydrocarbyl chains with the active catalyst or other chain transfer agents. It may be a metal compound with at least one ligand with a weak chemical bond, preferably a chain transfer agent based on a main group metal having at least one hydrocarbyl as ligand. If talking about an olefin or olefin monomer comprising a chain transfer agent, a corresponding functionality can be meant. "chain transfer agent" as used in the present description means: a compound that is capable of reversibly or irreversibly interchanging hydrocarbyls and/or hydrocarbyl chains with the active catalyst. It is a metal compound comprising at least one ligand with a weak chemical bond.

"chain transfer polymerization" as used in the present description can mean: a polymerization reaction by which the growing polymer chain is transferred to another molecule, being the chain transfer agent. During this process a hydrocarbyl group is transferred back to the active catalyst. This process can be either reversible or irreversible. When reversible, the chain transfer agents can create a controlled, livinglike system.

"chain shuttling agent" as used in the present description means: a compound that is capable of reversibly interchanging hydrocarbyls and/or hydrocarbyl chains with catalysts or other chain transfer agents. It is a metal compound comprising at least one ligand with a weak chemical bond. A chain shuttling agent can thus be a chain transfer agent. "hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent" as used in the present description means: a chain transfer agent having at least one hydrocarbyl as ligand.

"additional chain transfer agent" as used in the present description means: a chain transfer agent that is present in addition to another chain transfer agent and/or to an olefin monomer comprising a chain transfer agent functionality.

"catalyst system" as used in the present description means: a combination of at least two components selected from the group consisting of: a metal catalyst or a catalyst precursor, a co-catalyst, one or more types of chain transfer agents, etc. A catalyst system always includes a metal catalyst or a catalyst precursor. "catalyst" as used in the present description means: a species providing the catalytic reaction. In the context of the present invention a "metal catalyst" wherein said catalyst comprises at least one metal center that forms the active site, is the same as a "transition metal catalyst" wherein the metal is a transition metal.

"catalyst precursor" as used in the present description means: a compound that upon activation forms the active catalyst. "single-site catalyst" as used in the present description means: a metal catalyst that consists of solely one type of catalytically active site.

"metallocene" as used in the present description means: a metal catalyst or catalyst precursor typically consisting of two substituted cyclopentadienyl (Cp) ligands bound to a metal active site.

"half-metallocene" as used in the present description means: a metal catalyst or catalyst precursor consisting one substituted cyclopentadienyl (Cp) ligand bound to a metal active site and one or more anions bound to the metal, typically via a hetero atom.

"post-metallocene" as used in the present description means: a metal catalyst or catalyst precursor containing one or more anions bound to the metal active site, typically via a hetero atom, that are not substituted cyclopentadienyl (Cp) ligands.

"transition metal" as used in the present description means: a metal from any of the Groups 3-10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements or in other words a Group 3 metal, a Group 4 metal, a Group 5 metal, a Group 6 metal, a Group 7 metal, a Group 8 metal, a Group 9 metal or a Group 10 metal.

"Group 3 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group 3 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, being scandium (Sc), yttrium (Y), lanthanum (La) and other lanthanides (Ce-Lu), and actinium (Ac) and other actinides (Th-Lr). "Group 4 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group

4 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, being titanium (Ti), zirconium (Zr) and hafnium (Hf). "Group 5 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group

5 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements, being vanadium (V), niobium (Nb) and tantalum (Ta).

"Group 6 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group 6 of the Periodic Table of elements, being chromium (Cr), molybdenum (Mb) and tungsten (W).

"Group 7 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group

7 of the Periodic Table of elements, being manganese (Mn), technetium (Tc) and rhenium (Re).

"Group 8 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group

8 of the Periodic Table of elements, being iron (Fe), ruthenium (Ru) and osmium (Os). "Group 9 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group

9 of the Periodic Table of elements, being cobalt (Co), rhodium (Rh) and iridium (Ir).

"Group 10 metal" as used in the present description means: a metal selected from Group 10 of the Periodic Table of elements, being nickel (Ni), palladium (Pd) and platinum (Pt).

"Group X metal (half/post) metallocene catalyst" or "Group X (half/post) metallocene catalyst" as used in the present description means: a metal catalyst constituted of a Group X metal (half/post) metallocene. In the above definition any element of the Groups 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements may be substituted on X. An example is "Group 4 metal catalyst" being a catalyst constituted of a Group 4 metal.

"Group X metal single-site catalyst" or "Group X single-site catalyst" as used in the present description means: a catalyst constituted of a Group X metal single-site catalyst. In the above definition any element of the Groups 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements may be substituted on X.

"co-catalyst" as used in the present description means a compound that activates the catalyst precursor to obtain the active catalyst. In the present description these two terms are used interchangeable.

"main group metal" or "main group" as used in the present description refers to/means: a metal that is an element of Groups 1 , 2, and 13-15 of the period table. In other words, metals of:

* Group 1 : lithium (Li), sodium (Na), and potassium (K)

* Group 2: beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca)

* Group 13: boron (B), aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga), and indium (In)

* Group 14: germanium (Ge), and tin (Sn)

* Group 15: antimony (Sb), and bismuth (Bi)

main group metals also include for the context of the present invention zinc (Zn), of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements.

"main group metal-polymer species" as used in the present description means: a polymer produced during the chain transfer polymerization that contains a main group metal as chain end group.

"catalyzed chain growth process" as used in the present description means: the use of a metal catalyst in the polymerization of olefins, characterized by fast and reversible chains transfer reactions between the active metal center and main group metal center.

"methylaluminoxane" or "MAO" as used in the present description means: a compound that serves as an co-catalyst for catalytic olefin polymerization.

"supported methylaluminoxane" or "SMAO" as used in the present description means: a methylaluminoxane bound to a solid support. "depleted methylaluminoxane" or "DMAO" as used in the present description means: a methylaluminoxane from which the free trimethyl aluminum has been removed. "modified methylaluminoxane" or "MMAO" as used in the present description means: a methylaluminoxane that has been reacted with a neutral Lewis acid or polymeric or oligomeric hydrocarbyl group.

"fluorinated aryl borates or fluorinated aryl boranes" as used in the present description means: a borate compound having three or four fluorinated (preferably perfluorinated) aryl ligands or a borane compound having three fluorinated (preferably perfluorinated) aryl ligands.

"halide" as used in the present description means: an ion selected from the group of: fluoride (F-), chloride (CI-), bromide (Br-) or iodide (I-).

"halogen" as used in the present description means: an atom selected from the group of: fluorine (F), chlorine (CI), bromine (Br) or iodine (I).

"heteroatom" as used in the present description means: an atom other than carbon or hydrogen. Heteroatom also includes halides. "heteroatom selected from Group 14, 15, 16 or 17 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of the Elements" as used in the present description means: a hetero atom selected from Si, Ge, Sn [Group 14], N, P, As, Sb, Bi [Group 15], O, S, Se, Te [Group 16], F, CI, Br, I [Group 17]. "hydrocarbyl" as used in the present description means: a substituent containing hydrogen and carbon atoms; it is a linear, branched or cyclic saturated or unsaturated aliphatic substituent, such as alkyl, alkenyl, alkadienyl and alkynyl; alicyclic substituent, such as cycloalkyl, cycloalkadienyl cycloalkenyl; aromatic substituent, such as monocyclic or polycyclic aromatic substituent, as well as combinations thereof, such as alkyl-substituted aryls and aryl-substituted alkyls. It may be substituted with one or more non-hydrocarbyl substituents. When in the present description "hydrocarbyl" is used, it can also be "substituted hydrocarbyl", unless stated otherwise. Included in the term "hydrocarbyl" are also perfluorinated hydrocarbyls wherein all hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms. A hydrocarbyl may be present as a group on a compound (hydrocarbyl group) or it may be present as a ligand on a metal (hydrocarbyl ligand). It is different from a hydrocarbyl chain, which is the product of a polymerization reaction according to the present invention.

"hydrocarbyl chain" as used in the present description can mean: the hydrocarbyl product of a polymerization reaction according to step A) of the present invention. It may be a oligomeric polyolefin chain having e.g. between 2 and 20 olefin units or it may be a polyolefin chain, i.e. consisting of more than 20 olefin units. It should be noted that "hydrocarbyl chain" and "hydrocarbyl" are not used as synonyms. "alkyl" as used in the present description means: a group consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms having only single carbon-carbon bonds. An alkyl group may be straight or branched, un-substituted or substituted. It may contain aryl substituents. It may or may not contain one or more heteroatoms, such as for example oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si), tin (Sn) or sulfur (S) or halogens (i.e. F, CI, Br, I)..

"aryl" as used in the present description means: a substituent derived from an aromatic ring. An aryl group may or may not contain one or more heteroatoms, such as for example oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si), tin (Sn), sulfur (S) or halogen (i.e. F, CI, Br, I). An aryl group also encloses substituted aryl groups wherein one or more hydrogen atoms on the aromatic ring have been replaced by hydrocarbyl groups.

"alkoxide" or "alkoxy" as used in the present description means: a substituent obtained from an aliphatic alcohol. It consists of an alkyl group bonded to an oxygen atom.

"aryloxide" or "aryloxy" or "phenoxide" as used in the present description means: a substituent obtained from an aromatic alcohol. It consists of an aryl group bonded to an oxygen atom.

"silyl group" as used in the present description means: a linear, branched or cyclic substituent containing 1 -20 silicon atoms. Said silyl group may consist of Si-Si single or double bonds. "hydride" as used in the present description means a hydrogen anion bonded to a metal.

"quenching agent" as used in the present description means: an agent to remove the main group metal from the polyolefin having one or multiple main group metal end- functionalized oxidized branches to obtain a polyolefin having one or multiple main group metal end-functionalized oxidized branches. Expressions like for example "C1 -C16" and similar formulations may refer to a range regarding a number of carbon atoms, here for example from 1 to 16 carbon atoms.

Detailed description of the invention

The key of the present invention is the copolymerization of an olefin monomer, preferably a a-olefin, and at least one type olefin monomer, preferably a a-olefin, containing a main group metal chain transfer agent functionality. The resultant main group metal hydrocarbyl growth product (for example aluminum-PE) of the present invention can be used in several processes. It can for example be used for the preparation of polyolefins and of end-functionalized polyolefins.

Thus, it can be said that the end product that is desired in the present invention can be a polyolefin. An intermediate product for polyolefins is a so-called chain growth product, more specifically according to the present invention a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain growth product or main group metal-terminated polymer. Said main group metal stabilizes said polymer chain.

It can be said that the end product that is desired in the present invention is a branched polyolefin.

Moreover, it can be said that the end product that is desired in the present invention is a branched polyolefin having end-functionalized branches. An intermediate product for end-functionalized polyolefins is a so-called chain growth product, more specifically according to the present invention an main group metal hydrocarbyl chain growth product or main group metall-terminated polymer.

The present invention relates to the process to prepare the intermediate species, said intermediate species, the process to prepare the end product using said intermediate species and said end product. All of these are inventive by the use of an inventive catalyst system. These are all different aspects of the same invention that are linked by the same catalyst system.

The present invention uses an olefin-containing main group metal hydrocarbyl as chain transfer agents. In other words, the olefin comprising a main group metal hydrocarbyl can be an alkene containing main group metal hydrocarbyl.

Step A):

The first step in the process according to the present invention is the preparation of an main group metal, preferably aluminum, hydrocarbyl chain growth product by polymerizing at least one first type of olefin monomer, preferably an a-olefin, and at least one second type of olefin monomer, preferably an a-olefin, comprising a main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent functionality. Said main group metal hydrocarbyl chain growth product has a reactive electrophilic end group. In other words, said main group metal, preferably aluminum, hydrocarbyl chain growth product is a branched polyolefin that is functionalized on at least one of its branch ends with a main group metal .

During the polymerization reaction a chain transfer agent, more precisely an olefin monomer comprising an main group metal I hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent (being for example an aluminum atom bearing one or more hydrocarbyl comprising an olefin and/or hydride groups) is used. The product obtained in step A) is then an main group metal-functionalized chain growth product (being a branched polyolefin that is functionalized on at least one of its branch ends with a main group metal ). This is considered to be the main product of step A), which is an intermediate product in the process according to the present invention.

Chain transfer polymerization is a specific type of polymerization reaction. A polymer chain grows on a catalytically active site. Said grown polymer chain is then transferred from the catalytically active site to another molecule, viz. a so-called chain transfer agent.

Chain transfer to aluminum alkyls has been reported using a variety of catalysts including metallocenes, but generally, it has some drawbacks related to the efficiency of the process and the lack of control of the polymer molecular weight. Examples of documents disclosing chain transfer to aluminum are the following publications: Kretschmer, W. P. et al, Chem. Eur. J. 2006, (12), 8969; Obenauf, J. et al, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2014, 1446; Saito, J. et al, Macromolecules 2005, (38), 4955; Fan, G. et al, J. Mol. Catal. A: Chem. 2005 (236), 246; Rouholahnejad, F. et al, Organometallics 2010, (29), 294; Lieber, S. et al, Macromolecules 2000, (33), 9192; Kuhlman, R. L. et al, Macromolecules 2008, (41 ), 4090; and Naga, N. et al, Polymer 1998, (39), 5059.

Chain transfer to zinc alkyls has been reported. Examples of documents disclosing chain transfer to zinc are the publications of Britovsek, G. J. P. et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, (126), 10701 ; Britovsek, G. J. P. et al, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2002, (41 ), 489; Ring, J. O. et al, Macromol. Chem. Phys. 2007, (208), 896; Arriola, D. et al, Science 2006, (312), 714; Zhang, W. et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, (130), 442 and the International application WO 2003014046.

Chain transfer to aluminum in the presence of zinc in the preparation of polypropylene has been disclosed by Wei, J. et al, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2010, (49), 1768-1772.

Chain transfer to boron is known for ethylene and propylene polymerization using a variety of catalysts including metallocenes. Examples of documents disclosing chain transfer to boron are the publications of Xu, G. et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999, (121 ), 6763; Chung, T. C. et al, Macromolecules 2001 , (34), 8040; Lin, W. et al, J. Polym. Sci. Part A Polym. Chem. 2010, (48), 3534; Y. Lu, Y. Hu, Z. M. Wang, E. Manias, T. C. Chung, J. Polym. Sci. Part A 2002, (40), 3416; G. Xu, T. C. Chung, Macromolecules 1999, (32), 8689. The disadvantage of borane end-functionalized polymers is the relatively low reactivity of the B-C bond, which requires harsh oxidizing conditions (H202 NaOH) to functionalize the polymers.

Polymerization/copolymerization in step A) can preferably for example been carried out using by chain transfer polymerization.

The catalyst system used in step A) comprises: i) a Group 3-10, preferably Group 3- 8, metal catalyst or catalyst precursor; ii) optionally a co-catalyst and iii) optionally additional chain transfer agents or chain shuttling agents. Each of these discussed separately below.

Olefins suitable for use in step A)

Examples of suitable monomers include linear or branched a-olefins. Said olefins preferably have between 2 and 30 carbon atoms, more preferably between 2 and 20 carbon atoms. Preferably, one or more of the following are used: ethylene, propylene, 1 -butene, 4-methyl-1 -pentene, 1 -pentene, 1 -hexene, 1 -heptene, 1 -octene, 1 -nonene, 1 -decene, 1 -undecene, 1 -dodecene, 1 -tridecene, 1 -tetradecene, 1 -pentadecene, 1 - hexadecene, 1 -heptadecene, 1 -octadecene, 1 -cyclopentene, cyclohexene, norbornene, ethylidene-norbornene, and vinylidene-norbornene and one or more combinations thereof. In addition, a combination of ethylene and/or propylene on the one and one or more other olefins on the other hand is also possible. Substituted analogues of the monomers discussed above may also be used, e.g. substituted by one or more halogens. In addition, aromatic monomers can be used according to the present invention. It is also possible to use a combination of two or more olefins, such as a combination of ethylene with a-olefins to arrive at an LLDPE-block. Chain transfer agents

The present invention comprises at least one olefin monomer comprising an main group metal, preferably aluminum, hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent. The present invention may also use main group metal, preferably aluminum, chain transfer agent in combination with other main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agents, for example, zinc, magnesium and/or calcium and/or boron and/or gallium hydrocarbyl/hydride chain transfer agents.

The olefin monomer comprising a main group hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent used in the present invention has a structure according to Formula 1 a:

Formula 1 a wherein: M is a main group metal; n is the oxidation state of M; R 100 , R 101 and R 102 are each independently selected from the group consisting of a hydride, a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl group, or a hydrocarbyl group Q on the proviso that at least one of R 100 , R 101 and R 102 is hydrocarbyl group Q. Wherein hydrocarbyl group Q is according to Formula 1 b:

Formula 1 b wherein Z is bonded to M and is a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl group; R 105 optionally forms a cyclic group with Z; wherein R 103 and R 104 and R 105 are each independently selected from hydrogen or hydrocarbyl;

In an embodiment, hydrocarbyl group Q is an a-olefin wherein Z is bonded to the main group metal, Z is a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl spacer group, R 103 R 104 and R 105 are each hydrogen, said hydrocarbyl group Q being according to Formula 1 c:

Formula 1 c

In an embodiment, hydrocarbyl group Q is an alkene wherein Z is bonded to the main group metal, Z is a C1 -C18 hydrocarbyl spacer group, R 103 and R 104 are independently hydrogen or hydrocarbyl and R105 is a C1 -18 hydrocarbyl, said R 105 group forming a cyclic structure with Z, said hydrocarbyl group Q being according to Formula 1 d:

Formula 1 d

In an embodiment, said hydrocarbyl group Q can be an a-olefin according to Formula 1 c or an unsaturated cyclic hydrocarbyl group according to Formula 1 d. Preferably, hydrocarbyl group Q is an a-olefin or an unsaturated cyclic hydrocarbyl group.

Z is a branched or unbranched hydrocarbyl spacer group consisting of between 1 and 18 carbon atoms, preferably 2 and 8 carbon atoms, more preferably 4 and 7 carbon atoms, even more preferably 5 or 6 carbon atoms. Z is optionally substituted with hydrogen, carbon, heteroatoms or halides.

In an embodiment, hydrocarbyl group Q is an α-olefin according to Formula 1 c. Said α-olefin has up to and including 30 carbon atoms, such as up to and including 20 carbon atoms, preferably up to and including 10 carbon atoms, such as ethenyl, propenyl, butenyl, heptenyl, hexenyl, septenyl, octenyl, nonenyl or decenyl and can be unbranched or branched.

In a preferred embodiment, said α-olefin is an unbranched α-olefin according to Formula 1 e. In other words, the main group metal, preferably aluminium, hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent comprises at least one hydrocarbyl chain bearing an α-olefin (i.e. hydrocarbyl group Q). Said hydrocarbyl group Q is an a-olefin-comprising a main group metal.

Formula 1 e

In a preferred embodiment, hydrocarbyl group Q is an α-olefin according to Formula 1 e where n is 1 -5. In other words, the hydrocarbyl group Q is 3-buten-1 -yl, 4-penten-1 -yl, 5-hexen-1 -yl, 6-hepten-1 -yl or 7-octen-1 yl.

In an embodiment, the hydrocarbyl group Q is an unsaturated cyclic hydrocarbyl group according to Formula 1 d. In said cyclic olefin the alkene is situated between substituents R 105 and Z and R 105 forms at least one a ring with Z. R 105 can be a C1 - C18 hydrocarbyl, which forms one or more bonds with Z to form a cyclic group.

In a preferred embodiment hydrocarbyl group Q comprises a norbornene group. According to lUPAC numbering of norbornene groups (Formula If), R 105 provides carbons at positions 1 , 6 and 7, Z provides carbons at positions 4 and 5, and the substituents at carbon 5. Suitable norbornene groups which can be used in the present invention can be, for example but not limited to, 5-ethylenebicyclo[2.2.1 ]hept-2-ene, 5-propylenebicyclo[2.2.1 ]hept-2-ene.

Formula If

The number of R groups around the main group metal is dependent on the oxidization state of the metal. For example, when the main group metal is zinc or magnesium or calcium, the oxidation state is +2, and the formula is R 100 MR 101 .

For example, when the main group metal is aluminum or boron or gallium, the oxidation state is +3, and the formula is R 100 R 101 MR 102 .

In a preferred embodiment, at least one olefin comprising main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent can be for example ethyl(5-ethylene-2-norbornene) zinc, ethyl(7-octen1 -yl) zinc, bis(5-ethylene-2-norbornene) zinc, or bis(7-octen-1 -yl) zinc.

In a preferred embodiment, the olefin comprising at least one main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent can be for example bis(isobutyl)(5-ethylen-yl-2- norbornene) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(7-octen-1 -yl) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(5-hexen-1 -yl) aluminum, di(isobutyl)(3-buten-1 -yl) aluminum, tris(5-ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) aluminum, tris(7-octen-1 -yl) aluminum, tris(5-hexen-1 -yl) aluminum, or tris(3-buten-1 - yl) aluminum.

The copolymerization of at least one olefin comprising main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent and a-olefin monomer may be carried out in the presence of an additional and/or other chain transfer reagent. From the prior art chain transfer reactions are known using several different chain transfer agents.

Chain transfer to aluminum alkyls, zinc alkyls, and boron alkyls and boron hydrides as such has been reported. The present invention can use for example main group metal hydrocarbyls and/or main group metal hydrides as chain transfer agents.

As non-limiting examples of a main group metal hydrocarbyl or hydride the following can for example be used: one or more hydrocarbyl or hydride groups attached to a main group metal selected from aluminum, magnesium, calcium, zinc, gallium or boron. Of these several specific examples are specified below.

The additional chain transfer agent may be selected from the group specified above having a general structure:

wherein M is a main group metal, R is a hydride or hydrocarbyl group, p is the oxidation state of the metal, X is a heteroatom or heteroatom-bonded ligand, q is an integer between 0 and p-1 , At least one hydrocarbyl or hydride group should be present. Preferably, at least one R group is alkyl.

When R is an alkyl this group has up to and including 30 carbon atoms, such as up to and including 20 carbon atoms, preferably up to and including 10 carbon atoms, such as methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, heptyl, hexyl, septyl, octyl, nonyl or decyl and can be unbranched or branched.

When R is an alkenyl this group has up to and including 30 carbon atoms, such as up to and including 20 carbon atoms, preferably up to and including 10 carbon atoms, such as ethenyl, propenyl, butenyl, heptenyl, hexenyl, septenyl, octenyl, nonenyl or decenyl and can be unbranched or branched.

When R is an alkynyl this group has up to and including 30 carbon atoms, such as up to and including 20 carbon atoms, preferably up to and including 10 carbon atoms, such as vinyl, propynyl, butynyl, heptynyl, hexynyl, septynyl, octynyl, nonynyl or decynyl and can be unbranched or branched.

When R is aryl it can be selected from mono cyclic or bicyclic groups or groups having more than two rings. These rings may be fused together or linked by a spacer. The aryl might be substituted on any ring position with a hydrocarbyl or heteroatom- containing group. Examples of aryl moieties include, but are not limited to, chemical structures such as phenyl, 1 -naphthyl, 2-naphthyl, dihydronaphthyl, tetrahydronaphthyl, biphenyl, anthryl, phenanthryl, biphenylenyl, acenaphthenyl, acenaphthylenyl, tolyl, xylyl, mesityl, 2-methoxy-phenyl, 2,6-dimethoxy-phenyl, 2-N,N- dimethylaminomethyl-phenyl, 2-N,N-dimethylamino-phenyl.

When R is an aryl-substituted alkyi this group consists of an alkyi containing an aryl that might be substituted on any ring position with a hydrocarbyl. Non-limiting examples are: benzyl, 1 -phenylethyl, 2-phenylethyl, diphenylmethyl, 3-phenylpropyl, and 2-phenylpropyl, o-methoxy-phenyl-methyl, o-N,N-dimethylamino-phenyl-methyl.

In an embodiment main group metal hydrocarbyls containing hydrocarbyldiyl groups, e.g. cyclic or oligomeric main group metal hydrocarbyls or alkoxyhydrocarbyl or amidohydrocarbyl groups may be used in order to obtain telechelic polymer blocks, which can be used to prepare triblock copolymers. Examples of such cyclic or oligomeric chain transfer agents are EtZn[CH 2 CH(Et)(CH 2 )6CH(Et)CH 2 Zn]nEt (n = 1 , 2, 3, ...), iBu 2 AI(CH 2 )60AliBu2, iBu 2 AI(CH 2 )2oOAIiBu 2 , AI[(CH 2 ) 20 OAIiBu 2 ] 3 , iBu 2 AI(CH 2 ) 20 N(Me)ANBu 2 , iBu 2 AI(CH 2 ) 6 N(Me)ANBu 2 , AI[(CH 2 ) 20 N(Me)AliBu 2 ] 3 as exemplified in Makio et al. J. Am. Chem. SOC. 2013, (135), 8177-8180 and WO 201 1/014533.

The heteroatom-containing ligand X can be selected from the group consisting of: halide, oxide (-0-), carboxylate (-0 2 CR 40 ), alkoxide (-OR 40 ; i.e. O-alkyl), aryloxide (- OAr), thiolate (-SR 40 ), amide (-NR 40 R 41 ), phosphide (-PR 40 R 41 ), mercaptanate (-SAr), siloxide (-OSiR 40 R 41 R 42 ), stannate (-OSnR 40 R 41 R 42 ). Wherein R' independently a hydrocarbyl.

In an embodiment, an additional chain transfer agent may be selected from the group consisting of trialkyl boron, dialkyl boron halide, dialkyl boron hydride, diaryl boron hydride, dialkyl boron alkoxide, dialkyl boron aryloxide, dialkyl boron amide, dialkyl boron thiolate, dialkyl boron carboxylate, dialkyl boron phosphide, dialkyl boron mercaptanate, dialkyl boron siloxide, dialkyl boron stannate, alkyi boron dialkoxide, alkyi boron diaryloxide, alkyi boron dicarboxylate, alkyi boron diphosphide, alkyi boron dimercaptanate, alkyi boron disiloxide, alkyi boron distannate, boron hydride dialkoxide, boron hydride diaryloxide, boron hydride diamide, boron hydride dicarboxylate, boron hydride diphosphide, boron hydride dimercaptanate, boron hydride disiloxide, boron hydride distannate, trialkyl aluminum, dialkyl aluminum halide, dialkyl aluminum hydride, dialkyl aluminum alkoxide, dialkyl aluminum aryloxide, dialkyl aluminum amide, dialkyl aluminum thiolate, dialkyl aluminum carboxylate, dialkyl aluminum phosphide, dialkyl aluminum mercaptanate, dialkyl aluminum siloxide, dialkyl aluminum stannate, alkyi aluminum dialkoxide, alkyi aluminum diaryloxide, alkyi aluminum dicarboxylate, alkyi aluminum diphosphide, alkyi aluminum dimercaptanate, alkyi aluminum disiloxide, alkyi aluminum distannate, aluminum hydride dialkoxide, aluminum hydride diaryloxide, aluminum hydride diamide, aluminum hydride dicarboxylate, aluminum hydride diphosphide, aluminum hydride dimercaptanate, aluminum hydride disiloxide, aluminum hydride distannate, trialkyl gallium, dialkyl gallium halide, dialkyl gallium hydride, dialkyl gallium alkoxide, dialkyl gallium aryloxide, dialkyl gallium amide, dialkyl gallium thiolate, dialkyl gallium carboxylate, dialkyl gallium phosphide, dialkyl gallium mercaptanate, dialkyl gallium siloxide, dialkyl gallium stannate, dialkyl magnesium, diaryl magnesium, alkyi magnesium halide, alkyi magnesium hydride, alkyi magnesium alkoxide, alkyi magnesium aryloxide, alkyi magnesium amide, alkyi magnesium thiolate, alkyi magnesium carboxylate, alkyi magnesium phosphide, alkyi magnesium mercaptanate, alkyi magnesium siloxide, alkyi magnesium stannate, dialkyl calcium, alkyi calcium halide, alkyi calcium hydride, alkyi calcium alkoxide, alkyi calcium aryloxide, alkyi calcium amide, alkyi calcium thiolate, alkyi calcium carboxylate, alkyi calcium phosphide, alkyi calcium mercaptanate, alkyi calcium siloxide, alkyi calcium stannate, dialkyl zinc, alkyi zinc halide, alkyi zinc hydride, alkyi zinc alkoxide, alkyi zinc aryloxide, alkyi zinc amide, alkyi zinc thiolate, alkyi zinc carboxylate, alkyi zinc phosphide, alkyi zinc mercaptanate, alkyi zinc siloxide, alkyi zinc stannate, and or more combinations thereof. Preferably tri-isobutyl aluminum, trimethyl aluminum, triethyl aluminum, tri(i- propyl) aluminum, tri(n-butyl) aluminum, tri(t-butyl) aluminum, tri(n-hexyl) aluminum, tri(n-octyl) aluminum, di-isobutyl aluminum hydride, dimethyl aluminum 2,6-di(t-butyl)- 4-methyl-phenoxide, diethyl aluminum 2,6-di(t-butyl)-4-methyl-phenoxide, di-isobutyl aluminum 2,6-di(t-butyl)-4-methyl-phenoxide, iso-butyl aluminum-bis(di- trimethylsilyl)amide), n-octyl aluminum-di(pyridine-2-methoxide), bis(n-octadecyl)- isobutyl aluminum, isobutyl aluminum-bis(di(n-pentyl)amide), n-octyl aluminum- bis(2,6-di-t-butylphenoxide), n-octyl aluminum-di-ethyl(l -naphthyl)amide), ethyl aluminum-bis(t-butyldimethylsiloxide), ethyl aluminum-di(bis(trimethylsilyl)amide), ethyl aluminum-bis(2,3,6,7-dibenzo-1 -azacycloheptane-amide), n-octyl aluminum- bis(2,3,6,7-dibenzo-1 -azacycloheptane-amide), n-octyl- aluminum-bis(dimethyl(t- butyl)siloxide, di-n-butyl magnesium, dimethyl magnesium, butyl-octyl-magnesium, butyl-ethyl-magnesium, butyl magnesium 2,6-di(t-butyl)-4-methyl-phenoxide, benzyl calcium 2,6-di(t-butyl)-4-methyl-phenoxide, diethyl zinc, dimethyl zinc, di-isopropyl zinc, di-t-butyl zinc, di-(n-hexyl) zinc, ethyl zinc (t-butoxide), methyl zinc 2,6-di(t-butyl)- 4-methyl-phenoxide, ethyl zinc 2,6-di(t-butyl)-4-methyl-phenoxide, trimethyl boron, trimethyl boron, tributyl boron, diethyl boron 2,6-di(t-butyl)-4-methyl-phenoxide, 9- borabicyclo(3.3.1 )nonane, catecholborane, diborane and one or more combination thereof.

A main group metal, especially for example aluminum, can be used as an additional chain transfer agent and/or chain shuttling agent together with at least one olefin comprising at least one main group metal hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent functionality or another main group metal, especially for example a zinc hydrocarbyl chain transfer agent functionality. Using a combination of for example a magnesium hydrocarbyl and an aluminum hydrocarbyl as the chain transfer agents, for example a ternary system (TM + Al + Zn, where TM is transition metal of the catalyst) may be formed. Doing so can lead to reversible transfer reactions.

For example, hydrocarbyl zinc, hydrocarbyl gallium, hydrocarbyl boron or hydrocarbyl calcium can be used. Catalyst system suitable for use in step A)

A catalyst system for use in step a) comprises the following components:

i) a metal catalyst or catalyst precursor comprising a metal from Group 3- 10 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of elements; and

ii) at least one type of main group metal chain transfer agent; and iii) optionally a co-catalyst;

Suitable chain transfer agents have been discussed above. Suitable catalysts and/or catalyst precursors are discussed in this section as well as suitable co-catalysts, which are optional. A catalyst for step A) can preferably be used for example without co- catalyst. On the other hand, a catalyst precursor for step A) can preferably be used with aa co-catalyst to obtain the actual active catalyst.

Metal catalyst and/or catalyst precursor suitable for step A)

Metal catalyst and/or catalyst precursor suitable for step A)

In the section below several metal catalysts or metal catalyst precursors, which may be used to prepare the metal catalyst according to the present invention, are specified. Metal catalysts that are suitable for use in step A) of the present invention may be obtained by reaction the metal catalyst precursors with a co-catalyst either prior to use in step A) or by reaction in situ.

According to the present invention, the metal catalyst has a metal center selected from a Group 3 metal, a Group 4 metal, a Group 5 metal, a Group 6 metal, a Group 7 metal, a Group 8 metal, a Group 9 metal or a Group 10 metal, preferably Y, Sm, Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, Pd.

A metal catalyst or a metal catalyst precursor according to the invention may be for example a single-site catalyst or Ziegler-Natta catalyst.

Ziegler-Natta catalyst as used in the present description means: a transition metal- containing solid catalyst compound comprises a transition metal halide selected from titanium halide, chromium halide, hafnium halide, zirconium halide, and vanadium halide, supported on a metal or metalloid compound (e.g. a magnesium compound or a silica compound). An overview of such catalyst types is for example given by T. Pullukat and R. Hoff in Catal. Rev. - Sci. Eng. 41 , vol. 3 and 4, 389-438, 1999. The preparation of such a procatalyst is for example disclosed in W096/32427 A1 . Ziegler- Natta catalysts as reported in US2009/0048399, US2014/0350200, W096/32427, WO01 /23441 , WO2007/134851 , US4978648, EP1283 222A1 , US5556820; US4414132; US5106806 and US5077357 may also be suitable to use as metal catalyst precursors in the present invention.

The metal catalysts or metal catalyst precursors may for example be a C 3 -, Ci- or C2- symmetric zirconium or hafnium metallocene, preferably an indenyl substituted zirconium or hafnium dihalide, more preferably a bridged bis-indenyl zirconium or hafnium dihalide, even more preferably rac-dimethylsilyl bis-indenyl zirconium or hafnium dichloride (rac-Me2Si(lnd)2ZrCl2 and rac-Me2Si(lnd)2HfCl2, respectively), or rac-dimethylsilyl bis-(2-methyl-4-phenyl-indenyl) zirconium or hafnium dichloride (rac- Me 2 Si(2-Me-4-Ph-lnd) 2 ZrCl2 and rac-Me 2 Si(2-Me-4-Ph-l nd)2HfCl2, respectively).

According to the invention, said catalyst precursor can be for example a so-called half- metallocene, or constrained geometry catalyst, even more preferably, C 5 Me5[(C6Hi i ) 3 P=N]TiCl2, [Me 2 Si(C5Me4)N(tBu)]TiCI 2 ,

According to the invention, said catalyst can be for example a so-called post- metallocene, preferably [Et 2 NC(N(2,6-iPr2-C6H 3 )]TiCl3 or [N-(2,6-di(l- methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(2-isopropylphenyl)(a-naphthalen-2- diyl(6-pyridin-2- diyl)methane)]hafnium dimethyl.

The metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor can also be for example a preferably C s or Ci symmetric compound according to the formula (C5R 8 4)R 9 (Ci3R 8 8)ML 1 n , where C 5 R 8 4 is an unsubstituted or substituted cyclopentadienyl, and Ci3R 1 1 e is an unsubstituted fluorenyl group or a substituted fluorenyl group; and the bridging R 9 group is selected from the group consisting of -Si(Me)2-, -Si(Ph) 2 - -C(Me)2- or - C(Ph)2- thus producing Ci- and Cs-symmetric metallocenes.

Non-limiting examples of zirconocene dichloride metal catalyst precursors suitable for use in the present invention include: bis(cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(methyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(n-propyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(n-butyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(1 ,3- dimethyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(1 ,3-di-t-butyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(1 ,3-ditrimethylsilyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(1 ,2,4-trimethyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(1 ,2,3,4-tetramethyl- cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(pentamethylcyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(indenyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(2-phenyl-indenyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(tetrahydrofluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-bis(cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-bis(3- t-butyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-bis(3-trimethylsilyl- cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-bis(tetrahydrofluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-(1 -indenyl)(cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-(1 -indenyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-(1 - indenyl)(octahydrofluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-dimethylsilyl-bis(2-methyl-3-t- butyl-cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-dimethylsilyl-bis(1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-dimethylsilyl-bis(4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-dimethylsilyl-bis(2-methyl-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac- dimethylsilyl-bis(4-phenyl-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-dimethylsilyl-bis(2- methyl-4-phenyl-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-ethylene-bis(l -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-ethylene-bis(4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-1 , 1 ,2,2-tetramethylsilanylene-bis(1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac- 1 , 1 ,2,2-tetramethylsilanylene-bis(4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-ethylidene(1 -indenyl)(2,3,4,5-tetramethyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride, rac-[1 -(9-fluorenyl)-2-(2-methylbenzo[b]indeno[4,5-d]thiophen-1 - yl)ethane]zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl bis(cyclopenta-phenanthren-3-ylidene) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl bis(cyclopenta-phenanthren-l -ylidene) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl bis(2-methyl-cyclopenta-phenanthren-1 -ylidene) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl bis(2-methyl-3-benz-inden-3-ylidene) zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-bis[(3a, 4,5,6, 6a)-2,5-dimethyl-3-(2-methylphenyl)-6H-cyclopentathien-6- ylidene] zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-(2,5-dimethyl-1 -phenylcyclopenta[b]pyrrol- 4(1 H)-ylidene)(2-methyl-4-phenyl-1 -indenyl) zirconium dichloride, bis(2-methyl-1 - cyclopenta-phenanthren-1 -yl)zirconium dichloride, [ortho-bis(4-phenyl-2-indenyl) benzene] zirconium dichloride, [ortho-bis(5-phenyl-2-indenyl) benzene] zirconium dichloride, [ortho-bis(2-indenyl)benzene] zirconium dichloride, [ortho-bis (1 -methyl-2- indenyl)benzene] zirconium dichloride, [2,2'-(1 ,2-phenyldiyl)-1 ,1'dimethylsilyl- bis(indenyl)] zirconium dichloride, [2,2'-(1 ,2-phenyldiyl)-1 , 1 '-(1 ,2-ethanediyl)- bis(indenyl)] zirconium dichloride, dimethylsilyl-(cyclopentadienyl)(9-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylsilyl-(cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(cyclopentadienyl)(octahydrofluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(cyclopentadienyl)(octahydrofluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluoreny l) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluoreny l) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-methyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-methyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-cyclohexyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-cyclohexyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-t-butyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-t-butyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-ademantyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-ademantyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-methyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-methyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-cyclohexyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t- butyl-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-cyclohexyl-1 - cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3- t-butyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-t-butyl-1 -cyclopentadienyl)(2,7-di-t-butyl-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-methyl-cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-octa methyl- dibenzo-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-methyl- cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-octamethyl-dibenzo-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-cyclohexyl-cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro- octamethyl-dibenzo- fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-cyclohexyl- cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-octamethyl-dibenzo-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-t-butyl-cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-oct amethyl-dibenzo- fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-t-butyl- cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-octamethyl-dibenzo-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, dimethylmethylene-(3-ademantyl-cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-o ctamethyl-dibenzo- fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride, diphenylmethylene-(3-ademantyl- cyclopentadienyl)(octahydro-octamethyl-dibenzo-fluorenyl) zirconium dichloride. In a preferred embodiment, the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor can be for example: [[2,2'-[[[2-(dimethylamino-KN)ethyl]imino-KN]bis(methylene)] bis[4,6-bis(1 , 1 - dimethylethyl) phenolato-κθ]] zirconium dibenzyl, (phenylmethyl)[[2,2'-[(propylimino- KN)bis(methylene)]bis[4,6-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)phenolato-KO]] zirconium dibenzyl or (phenylmethyl)[[2,2'-[[[(2-pyridinyl-KN)methyl]imino-KN]bis( methylene)]bis[4,6-bis(1 , 1 - dimethylethyl)phenolato-KO]] zirconium dibenzyl.

In a preferred embodiment, complexes as reported in WO 00/43426, WO 2004/081064, US 2014/0039138 Al, US 2014/0039139 Al and US 2014/0039140 Al are suitable to use as metal catalyst precursors for the processes of the present invention.

Compounds analogous to those listed above but where Zr has been replaced by Hf, so called hafnocenes, may also be used according to the as catalyst precursors present invention.

The metal catalysts or metal catalyst precursors for use in the present invention may also be from post-metallocene catalysts or catalyst precursors. In a preferred embodiment, the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor may be : [HN(CH2CH2N-2,4,6-Me3-C6H2)2]Hf(CH2Ph)2 or bis[N,N'-(2,4,6- trimethylphenyl)amido)ethylenediamine]hafnium dibenzyl.

In a another preferred embodiment, the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor may be 2,6-diisopropylphenyl-N-(2-methyl-3-(octylimino)butan-2) hafnium trimethyl, 2,4,6- trimethylphenyl-N-(2-methyl-3-(octylimino)butan-2) hafnium trimethyl.

In a preferred embodiment, the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor may be [2,6- iPr2C6H3NC(2-iPr-C6H4)-2-(6-C5H6)]HfMe2 — [N-(2,6-di(1 - methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(2-isopropylphenyl) ( -naphthalen-2-diyl(6-pyridin-2- diyl)methane)]hafnium dimethyl.

Other non-limiting examples of metal catalyst precursors according to the present invention are: [N-(2,6-di(1 -methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(o-tolyl)(a-naphthalen-2-diyl(6- pyridin-2-diyl)methane)] hafnium dimethyl, [N-(2,6-di(1 -methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(o- tolyl)(a,a-naphthalen-2-diyl(6-pyridin-2-diyl)methane)] hafnium di(N, N- dimethylamido), [N-(2,6-di(l-methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(o-tolyl)(a,a-naphthal en-2- diyl(6-pyridin-2-diyl)methane)] hafnium dichloride, [N-(2,6-di( 1 - methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(phenanthren-5-yl)(a,a-naphthalen-2 -diyl (6-pyridin-2- diyl)methane)] hafnium dimethyl, [N-(2, 6-di( 1 - methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(phenanthren-5-yl)(a-naphthalen-2-d iyl(6-pyridin 2- diyl)methane)] hafnium di(N,N-dimethylamido), [N-(2,6-di(l- methylethyl)phenyl)amido)(phenanthren-5-yl) (a-naphthalen-2-diyl(6-pyridin-2- diyl)methane)] hafnium dichloride. Other non-limiting examples include the family of pyridyl diamide metal dichloride complexes such as: [N-[2,6-bis( 1 -methylethyl)phenyl]- 6-[2-[phenyl(phenylamino-KN)methyl]phenyl]-2-pyridinemethana minato(2-)- KN 1 , KN2]hafnium dichloride, [N-[2,6-bis( 1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-6-[2-[(phenylamino- KN)methyl]- 1 -naphthalenyl]-2-pyridinemethanaminato(2-)-KN 1 , KN2] hafnium dichloride, [N-[2,6-bis( 1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-a-[2-( 1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-6-[2- [(phenylamino-KN)methyl]phenyl]-2-pyridinemethanaminato(2-)- KN 1 , KN2] hafnium dichloride, [N-(2 ,6-diethylphenyl)-6-[2-[phenyl(phenylamino-KN)methyl]- 1 - naphthalenyl]-2-pyridinemethanaminato(2-)-KN 1 , KN2]zirconium dichloride, [4-methyl- 2-[[2-phenyl-1 -(2-pyridinyl-KN)ethyl]amino-KN]phenolato(2-)-

KO]bis(phenylmethyl)hafnium bis(phenylmethyl), [2-( 1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-4-methyl-6- [[2-phenyl-1 -(2-pyridinyl-KN)ethyl]amino-KN]phenolato(2-)-KO] hafnium bis(phenylmethyl), [2-( 1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-4-methyl-6-[[phenyl(2-pyridinyl-

KN)methyl]amino-KN]phenolato(2-)-KO]hafnium bis(phenylmethyl).

Non-limiting examples of titanium dichloride metal catalyst precursors suitable for use in the present invention include: cyclopentadienyl(P,P,P-tri-t-butylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(P,P,P-tri-t-butylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(P,P,P-tri-t-butylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, 1 ,2 ,3,4-tetraphenyl-cyclopentadienyl(P,P,P-tri-t- butylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(P,P,P- tricyclohexylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenyl cyclopentadienyl(P, P, P-tricyclohexylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(P,P,P-tricyclohexylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, 1 ,2,3 ,4-tetraphenyl-cyclopentadienyl(P,P, P-tricyclohexylphosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(P,P-dicyclohexyl-P- (phenylmethyl)phosphine imidato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(2,6-di-t-butyl- 4-methylphenoxy) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(2,6-di-t- butyl-4-methylphenoxy) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(2,6-di-t- butyl-4-methylphenoxy) titanium dichloride, 1 ,2,3-trimethyl-cyclopentadienyl(2,6- bis(l -methylethyl)phenolato) titanium dichloride, [(3a, 4,5,6, 6a-r|)-2, 3, 4,5,6- pentamethyl-3aH-cyclopenta[b]thien-3a-yl](2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)phenolato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(N,N'-bis(1 -methylethyl)ethanimidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(N,N'- dicyclohexylbenzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(N,N'-bis(1 -methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(1 ,3-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-2-imidazolidiniminato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(1 ,3-dicyclohexyl-2-imidazolidiniminato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(1 ,3-bis[2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-2- imidazolidiniminato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(1 ,3- bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-2-imidazolidiniminato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(1 ,3-dicyclohexyl-2-imidazolidiniminato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(1 ,3-bis[2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]- 2-imidazolidiniminato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(di-t- butylketimino) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(2,2,4,4-tetramethyl-3- pentaniminato) titanium dichloride, [(3a, 4,5,6, 6a-r|)-2, 4,5, 6-tetramethyl-3aH- cyclopenta[b]thien-3a-yl](2,2,4,4-tetramethyl-3-pentaniminat o) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(N,N-bis(1 -methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(N,N-bis(1 - methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(N,N-bis(1 -methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(2,6-difluoro-N,N-bis(1 - methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(2,6-difluoro-N,N-bis(1 - methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(2,6-difluoro-N,N-bis(1 - methylethyl)benzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(N,N- dicyclohexyl-2,6-difluorobenzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(N,N-dicyclohexyl-2,6- difluorobenzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(N,N-dicyclohexyl-2,6- difluorobenzenecarboximidamidato) titanium dichloride, cyclopentadienyl(N,N,N',N'- tetramethylguanidinato) titanium dichloride, pentafluorophenylcyclopentadienyl(N,N,N',N'-tetramethylguani dinato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(N,N,N',N'-tetramethylguanidinato ) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl(1 -(imino)phenylmethyl)piperidinato) titanium dichloride, pentamethylcyclopentadienyl chromium dichloride tetrahydrofuran complex.

Non-limiting examples of titanium (IV) dichloride metal catalyst suitable for use in the present invention are: (N-t-butylamido)(dimethyl)(tetramethylcyclopentadienyl)silan e titanium dichloride, (N phenylamido)(dimethyl)(tetramethylcyclopentadienyl) silane titanium dichloride, (N sec-butylamido)(dimethyl)(tetramethylcyclopentadienyl)silane titanium dichloride, (N sec-dodecylamido) (dimethyl)(fluorenyl)silane titanium dichloride, (3 phenylcyclopentadien-1 -yl) dimethyl(t-butylamido) silane titanium dichloride, (3 (pyrrol-l-yl)cyclopentadien-l -yl) dimethyl(t-butylamido)silane titanium dichloride, (3,4-diphenylcyclopentadien-1 -yl)dimethyl(t-butylamido) silane titanium dichloride, 3 (3-N,N-dimethylamino)phenyl) cyclopentadien-1 -yl)dimethyl(t- butylamido) silane titanium dichloride, (P-t-butylphospho)(dimethyl) (tetramethylcyclopentadienyl) silane titanium dichloride. Other examples are the metal catalyst precursor cited in the list directly above wherein Ln is dimethyl, dibenzyl, diphenyl, 1 ,4-diphenyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl, 1 ,4-dimethyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl or 2,3- dimethyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl.

Suitable metal catalyst precursors can be also the trivalent transition metal as those described in WO 9319104 (for example see especially example 1 , page 13, line 15).

Suitable metal catalyst precursors can be also the trivalent transition metal as [C5Me4CH2CH2N(n-Bu)2]TiCI2 described in WO 9613529 (for example see especially example II I, page 20, line 10-13) or [C5H(iPr)3CH2CH2NMe2]TiCI2 described in WO 97142232 and WO 9742236 (for example see especially example 1 , page 26, line 14).

In an embodiment, the metal catalyst precursor is [C5H4CH2CH2NMe2]TiCI2;

In an embodiment, the metal catalyst or metal catalyst precursor may also be [C5Me4CH2CH2NMe2]TiCI2, [C5H4CH2CH2NiPr2]TiCI2, [C5Me4CH2CH2NiPr2]TiCI2, [C5H4C9H6N]TiCI2, [C5H4CH2CH2NMe2]CrCI2, [C5Me4CH2CH2NMe2]CrCI2; [C5H4CH2CH2NiPr2]CrCI2, [C5Me4CH2CH2NiPr2]CrCI2 or [C5H4C9H6N]CrCI2.

A non-limiting list of examples of metal catalyst precursors that would be suitable according to the present invention are: (N,N dimethylamino)methyl- tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (N,N dimethylamino)ethyl- tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (N,N dimethylamino)propyl- tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (N,N dibutylamino)ethyl- tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (pyrrolidinyl)ethyl- tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (N,N-dimethylamino)ethyl-fluorenyl titanium dichloride, (bis(1 -methyl-ethyl)phosphino)ethyl-tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (bis(2-methyl-propyl)phosphino)ethyl-tetramethylcyclopentadi enyl titanium dichloride, (diphenylphosphino)ethyl-tetramethylcyclopentadienyl titanium dichloride, (diphenylphosphino)methyldimethylsilyl-tetramethylcyclopenta dienyl titanium dichloride. Other examples are the catalysts cited in the list directly above wherein Ln wherein the chloride can be replaced with bromide, hydride, methyl, benzyl, phenyl, allyl, (2-N,N-dimethylaminomethyl)phenyl, (2-N,N- dimethylamino)benzyl, 2,6-dimethoxyphenyl, pentafluorophenyl, and/or wherein the metal is trivalent titanium or trivalent chromium.

In a preferred embodiment, the catalyst precursor is: [2-(2,4,6-iPr3-C6H2)-6-(2,4,6- iPr3-C6H2)-C5H3N]Ti(CH2Ph)3 or [Et2NC(N-2,6-iPr2-C6H3)2]TiCI3

Other non-limiting examples of metal catalyst precursors according to the present invention are: {N',N"-bis[2,6-di(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-N,N-diethylguanidinato} titanium trichloride, {N',N"bis[2,6-di(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-N-methyl-N-cyclohexylguanidinato} titanium trichloride, {N',N"-bis[2,6-di(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]-N,N- pentamethyleneguanidinato} titanium trichloride, {N',N"-bis[2,6-di(methyl)phenyl]-sec- butyl-aminidinato} titanium trichloride, {N-trimethylsilyl,N'-(N",N"- dimethylaminomethyl)benzamidinato} titanium dichloride THF complex, {N- trimethylsilyl,N'-(N",N"-dimethylaminomethyl)benzamidinato} vanadium dichloride THF complex, {N,N'-bis(trimethylsilyl)benzamidinato} titanium dichloride THF complex, {N,N'-bis(trimethylsilyl)benzamidinato} vanadium dichloride THF complex. In a preferred embodiment, the catalyst precursor can be for example [C5H3N{CMe=N(2,6-iPr2C6H3)}2]FeCI2, [2,4-(t-Bu)2,-6-(CH=NC6F5)C6H20]2TiCI2 or bis[2-(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[(pentafluorophenylimino)methyl] phenolato] titanium dichloride. Other non-limiting examples of metal catalyst precursors according to the present invention can be for example: bis[2-[(2-pyridinylimino)methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2-(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[(phenylimino)methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2-(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[(1 - naphthalenylimino)methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[3-

[(phenylimino)methyl][1 , 1 '-biphenyl]-2-phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2-(1 , 1 - dimethylethyl)-4-methoxy-6-[(phenylimino)methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2,4-bis(1 -methyl- 1 -phenylethyl)-6-[(phenylimino)methyl] phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2,4-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylpropyl)-6-[(phenylimino)methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[3-(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-5-[(phenylimino)methyl][1 , 1 '-biphenyl]-4- phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2-[(cyclohexylimino)methyl]-6-(1 , 1 - dimethylethyl)phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2-(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[[[2-(1 - methylethyl)phenyl]imino]methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2-( 1 , 1 - dimethylethyl)-6-[(pentafluorophenylimino)ethyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2- (1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[(pentafluorophenylimino)propyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2,4-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[1 -(phenylimino)ethyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2,4-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[1 -(phenylimino)propyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride, bis[2,4-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)-6-[phenyl(phenylimino)methyl]phenolato] titanium dichloride. Other examples are the metal catalyst precursor cited in the list directly above wherein the dichloride can be replaced with dimethyl, dibenzyl, diphenyl, 1 ,4- diphenyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl, 1 ,4-dimethyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl or 2,3-dimethyl-2-butene- 1 ,4-diyl; and/or wherein the metal may be zirconium or hafnium.

In a preferred embodiment, the catalyst precursor can be : [2-[[[2-[[[3,5-bis(1 , 1 - dimethylethyl)-2-(hydroxy-KO)phenyl]methyl]amino-KN]ethyl]me thylamino-KN]methyl]- 4,6-bis(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)phenolato(2-)-KO] titanium bis(phenylmethyl), [2,4-dichloro- 6-[[[2-[[[3,5-dichloro-2-(hydroxy-KO)phenyl]methyl]amino-KN] ethyl]methylamino-

KN]methyl]phenolato(2-)-KO] titanium bis(phenylmethyl), [2-[[[[1 -[[2-(hydroxy-KO)-3,5- diiodophenyl]methyl]-2-pyrrolidinyl-KN]methyl]amino-KN]methy l]-4-methyl-6- tricyclo[3.3.1 .13,7]dec-1 -ylphenolato(2-)-KO] titanium bis(phenylmethyl), [2-[[[2-[[[[2- (hydroxy-KO)-3,5-bis(1 -methyl-1 -phenylethyl)phenyl]methyl]methylamino- KN]methyl]phenyl]methylamino-KN]methyl]-4,6-bis(1 -methyl- 1 - phenylethyl)phenolato(2-)-KO] titanium bis(phenylmethyl), [2,4-dichloro-6-[[[2-[[[[3,5- dichloro-2-(hydroxy-KO)phenyl]methyl]amino-KN]methyl]phenyl] amino- KN]methyl]phenolato(2-)-KO] titanium bis(phenylmethyl). Other examples are the metal catalyst precursor cited in the list directly above wherein bis(phenylmethyl) can be replaced with dichloride, dimethyl, diphenyl, 1 ,4-diphenyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl, 1 ,4- dimethyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl or 2,3-dimethyl-2-butene-1 ,4-diyl; and/or wherein the metal may be zirconium or hafnium.

A non-limiting list of examples of chromium catalysts that would be suitable for use in to the present invention are:

(N-t-butylamido)(dimethyl)(tetramethylcyclopentadienyl)silan e chromium bis(trimethylsilyl)methyl, (N-phenylamido)(dimethyl)(tetramethylcyclopentadienyl) silane chromium bis(trimethyl)methyl, (N-sec-butylamido)(dimethyl) (tetramethylcyclopentadienyl)silane chromium bis(trimethylsilyl)methyl, (N-sec- dodecylamido)(dimethyl)(fluorenyl)silane chromium hydride triphenylphosphine, (P-t- butylphospho)(dimethyl)(tetramethylcyclopentadienyl) silane chromium bis(trimethylsilyl)methyl. Other examples are the catalysts cited in the list directly above wherein L1 is hydride, methyl, benzyl, phenyl, allyl, (2-N,N- dimethylaminomethyl)phenyl, (2-N,N-dimethylamino)benzyl; in other words chromium methyl, chromium benzyl, chromium allyl, chromium (2-N,N-dimethylamino)benzyl; and/or wherein the metal is trivalent yttrium or samarium; Other examples are metal catalyst precursors as cited in the list directly above wherein Ln is chloride, bromide, hydride, methyl, benzyl, phenyl, allyl, (2-N,N-dimethylaminomethyl)phenyl, (2-N,N- dimethylamino)benzyl and/or wherein the metal is trivalent titanium or trivalent chromium.

Non-limiting examples of metal catalyst precursors according to the present invention are: N,N'-1 ,2-acenaphthylenediylidenebis(2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)benzenamine) nickel dibromide, N,N'-1 ,2-ethanediylidenebis(2,6-dimethylbenzenamine) nickel dibromide, N,N'-1 ,2-ethanediylidenebis(2,6-bis(1 -methyl-ethyl)benzenamine) nickel dibromide, N,N'-1 ,2-acenaphthylenediylidenebis(2,6-dimethylbenzenamine) nickel dibromide, N,N'-1 ,2-acenaphthylenediylidenebis(2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)benzenamine) nickel dibromide, N,N'-1 ,2-acenaphthylenediylidenebis(1 , 1 '-biphenyl)-2-amine nickel dibromide. Other examples are the catalysts cited in the list directly above wherein bromide can be replaced with chloride, hydride, methyl, benzyl and/or the metal can be palladium. Further non-limiting examples of metal catalyst precursors according to the present invention are: [2-[[[2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]imino-KN]methyl]-6-(1 , 1 - dimethylethyl)phenolato-KO] nickel phenyl(triphenylphosphine), [2-[[[2,6-bis(1 - methylethyl)phenyl]imino-KN]methyl]-6-(1 , 1 -dimethylethyl)phenolato-KO] nickel phenyl(triphenylphosphine), [2-[[[2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]imino- KN]methyl]phenolato-KO] nickel phenyl(triphenylphosphine)-, [3-[[[2,6-bis(1 - methylethyl)phenyl]imino-KN]methyl][1 , 1 '-biphenyl]-2-olato-KO] nickel phenyl(triphenylphosphine)-, [2-[[[2,6-bis(1 -methylethyl)phenyl]imino-KN]methyl]-4- methoxyphenolato-κθ] nickel phenyl(triphenylphosphine), [2-[[[2,6-bis(1 - methylethyl)phenyl]imino-KN]methyl]-4-nitrophenolato-KO] nickel phenyl(triphenylphosphine), [2,4-diiodo-6-[[[3,3",5,5"- tetrakis(trifluoromethyl)[1 , 1 ':3', 1 "-terphenyl]-2'-yl]imino-KN]methyl]phenolato-KO] nickel methyl[[3,3',3"-(phosphinidyne-KP)tris[benzenesulfonato]]] trisodium; [2,4- diiodo-6-[[[3,3",5,5"-tetrakis(trifluoromethyl)[1 , 1 ':3', 1 "-terphenyl]-2'-yl]imino- KN]methyl]phenolato-KO] nickel methyl[[3,3'-(phenylphosphinidene- KP)bis[benzenesulfonato]]]-disodium.

Co-catalysts suitable for step A)

A co-catalyst can be used when a metal catalyst precursor is applied. The function of this co-catalyst is to activate the metal catalyst precursor. Co-catalysts may be selected for example from the group consisting of aluminum alkyls and aluminum alkyl halides, such as for example triethyl aluminum (TEA) or diethyl aluminum chloride (DEAC), MAO, DMAO, MMAO, SMAO, possibly in combination with aluminum alkyls, for example triisobutyl aluminum, and/or with a combination of an aluminum alkyl, for example triisobutyl aluminum, and a fluorinated aryl borane or fluorinated aryl borate (viz. B(R') y wherein R' is a fluorinated aryl and y is 3 or 4, respectively). Examples of a fluorinated borane is B(CeF 5 )3 and of fluorinated borates are [X] + [B(C6F 5 )4] " (e.g. X = Ph 3 C, C6H 5 N(H)Me 2 ). Methylaluminoxane or MAO as used in the present description may mean: a compound derived from the partial hydrolysis of trimethyl aluminum that serves as a co-catalyst for catalytic olefin polymerization. Supported methylaluminoxane or SMAO as used in the present description may mean: a methylaluminoxane bound to a solid support.

Depleted methylaluminoxane or DMAO as used in the present description may mean: a methylaluminoxane from which the free trimethyl aluminum has been removed.

Modified methylaluminoxane or MMAO as used in the present description may mean: modified methylaluminoxane, viz. the product obtained after partial hydrolysis of trimethyl aluminum plus another trialkyl aluminum such as tri(isobutyl) aluminum or tri- n-octyl aluminum.

Fluorinated aryl borates or fluorinated aryl boranes as used in the present description may mean: a borate compound having three or four fluorinated (preferably perfluorinated) aryl ligands or a borane compound having three fluorinated (preferably perfluorinated) aryl ligands.

For example, the co-catalyst can be an organometallic compound. The metal of the organometallic compound can be selected from Group 1 , 2, 12 or 13 of the lUPAC Periodic Table of Elements. Preferably, the co-catalyst is an organoaluminum compound, more preferably an aluminoxane, said aluminoxane being generated by the reaction of a trialkyl aluminum compound with water to partially hydrolyze said aluminoxane. For example, trimethyl aluminum can react with water (partial hydrolysis) to form methylaluminoxane (MAO). MAO has the general formula (AI(CH3)3- nOo.5n)x (AIMe3)y having an aluminum oxide framework with methyl groups on the aluminum atoms.

MAO generally contains significant quantities of free trimethyl aluminum (TMA), which can be removed by drying the MAO to afford the so-called depleted MAO or DMAO. Supported MAO (SMAO) may also be used and may be generated by the treatment of an inorganic support material, typically silica, by MAO. Alternatively to drying the MAO, when it is desired to remove the free trimethyl aluminum, a bulky phenol such as butylhydroxytoluene (BHT, 2,6-di-t-butyl-4- methylphenol) can be added which reacts with the free trimethyl aluminum. Neutral Lewis acid modified polymeric or oligomeric aluminoxanes may also be used, such as alkylaluminoxanes modified by addition of a C1 -30 hydrocarbyl substituted Group 13 compound, especially a tri(hydrocarbyl) aluminum- or tri(hydrocarbyl) boron compounds, or a halogenated (including perhalogenated) derivatives thereof, having 1 to 10 carbons in each hydrocarbyl or halogenated hydrocarbyl group, more especially a trialkyl aluminum compound.

Other examples of polymeric or oligomeric aluminoxanes are tri(isobutyl) aluminum- or tri(n-octyl) aluminum-modified methylaluminoxane, generally referred to as modified methylaluminoxane, or MMAO. In the present invention, MAO, DMAO, SMAO and MMAO may all be used as co-catalyst.

In addition, for certain embodiments, the metal catalyst precursors may also be rendered catalytically active by a combination of an alkylating agent and a cation forming agent which together form the co-catalyst, or only a cation forming agent in the case the catalyst precursor is already alkylated, as exemplified in T. J. Marks et al. , Chem. Rev. 2000, (100), 1391 . Suitable alkylating agents are trialkyl aluminum compounds, preferably TIBA. Suitable cation forming agents for use herein include (i) neutral Lewis acids, such as C1 -30 hydrocarbyl substituted Group 13 compounds, preferably tri(hydrocarbyl)boron compounds and halogenated (including perhalogenated) derivatives thereof, having from 1 to 10 carbons in each hydrocarbyl or halogenated hydrocarbyl group, more preferably perfluorinated tri(aryl)boron compounds, and most preferably tris(pentafluorophenyl) borane, (ii) non polymeric, compatible, non-coordinating, ion forming compounds of the type [C] + [A] ~ where "C" is a cationic group such as ammonium, phosphonium, oxonium, , silylium or sulfonium groups and [A]- is an anion, especially for example a borate.

Non-limiting examples of the anionic ["A"] are borate compounds such as C1 -30 hydrocarbyl substituted borate compounds, preferably tetra(hydrocarbyl)boron compounds and halogenated (including perhalogenated) derivatives thereof, having from 1 to 10 carbons in each hydrocarbyl or halogenated hydrocarbyl group, more preferably perfluorinated tetra(aryl)boron compounds, and most preferably tetrakis(pentafluorophenyl) borate.

A supported catalyst may also be used, for example using SMAO as the co-catalyst. The support material can be an inorganic material. Suitable supports include solid and particulated high surface area, metal oxides, metalloid oxides, or mixtures thereof. Examples include: talc, silica, alumina, magnesia, titania, zirconia, tin oxide, aluminosilicates, borosilicates, clays, and mixtures thereof. Preparation of a supported catalyst can be carried out using methods known in the art, for example i) a metal catalyst precursor can be reacted with supported MAO to produce a supported catalyst; ii) MAO can be reacted with a metal catalyst precursor and the resultant mixture can be added to silica to form the supported catalyst; iii) a metal catalyst precursor immobilized on a support can be reacted with soluble MAO.

Scavengers suitable for step A)

A scavenger can optionally be added in the catalyst system in order to react with impurities that are present in the polymerization reactor, and/or in the solvent and/or monomer feed. This scavenger prevents poisoning of the catalyst during the olefin polymerization process. The scavenger can be the same as the co-catalyst but can also independently be selected from the group consisting of aluminum hydrocarbyls (e.g. triisobutyl aluminum, trioctyl aluminum, trimethyl aluminum, MAO, MMAO, SMAO), zinc hydrocarbyls (e.g. diethyl zinc) or magnesium hydrocarbyls (e.g. dibutyl magnesium).

Step A) is preferably carried out in an inert atmosphere. Step A) can be preferably for example carried out using chain transfer polymerization.

Polymerization/copolymerization of the olefins can for example be carried out in the gas phase below the melting point of the polymer. Polymerization can also be carried out in the slurry phase below the melting point of the polymer. Moreover, polymerization can be carried out in solution at temperatures above the melting point of the polymer product. It is known to continuously polymerize one or more olefins, such as ethylene or propylene, in solution or in slurry, e.g. in a continuous (multi) CSTR or (multi) loop reactor, in the gas-phase in a reactor with a fluidized or mechanically stirred bed or in a combination of these different reactors, in the presence of a catalyst based on a compound of a transition metal belonging to groups 3 to 10 of the Periodic Table of the Elements.

For the gas phase process, the polymer particles are kept in the fluidized and/or stirred state in a gaseous reaction mixture containing the olefin(s). The catalyst is introduced continuously or intermittently into the reactor while the polymer constituting the fluidized or mechanically stirred bed is withdrawn from the reactor, also continuously or intermittently. The heat of the polymerization reaction is essentially removed by the gaseous reaction mixture, which passes through heat transfer means before being recycled into the reactor. In addition, a liquid stream may be introduced into the gas- phase reactor to enhance heat removal.

Slurry phase polymerization of olefins is very well known, wherein an olefin monomer and optionally olefin comonomer are polymerized in the presence of a catalyst in a diluent in which the solid polymer product is suspended and transported. Two or more reactors are typically used in such polymerizations when it is desired to produce a multimodal product, in which a polymer made in a first reactor is transferred to a second reactor, where a second polymer having different properties to the first polymer is made in the presence of the first. However it may also be desirable to connect two reactors making monomodal polymers in order to create a swing monomodal/multimodal plant or to increase the flexibility of two small reactors that individually may lack the scale to be economically viable. A slurry reactor may also be combined with a gas phase reactor.

Slurry phase polymerizations are typically carried out at temperatures in the range 50- 125 °C and at pressures in the range 1 -40 bar. The catalyst used can be any catalyst typically used for olefin polymerization such as those according to the present invention. The product slurry, comprising polymer and diluent and in most cases also catalyst, olefin monomer and comonomer can be discharged from each reactor intermittently or continuously, optionally using concentrating devices such as hydrocyclones or settling legs to minimize the quantity of fluids withdrawn with the polymer.

The present invention may also be carried out in a solution polymerization process. Typically, in the solution process, the monomer and polymer are dissolved in an inert solvent.

Solution polymerization has some advantages over slurry processes. The molecular weight distribution and the process variables are more easily controlled because the polymerization occurs in a homogeneous phase using homogeneous single site catalysts. The high polymerization temperature typically above 150°C also leads to high reaction rates. The solution process is used primarily for the production of relatively low molecular weight and/or low density resins, which are difficult to manufacture by the liquid slurry or gas phase processes. The solution process is very well suited to produce low density products but it is thought much less satisfactory for higher molecular weight resins because of the excessive viscosity in the reactor as discussed by Choi and Ray, JMS Review Macromolecular Chemical Physics C25(l), 1 -55, pg. 10 (1985).

Unlike in the gas phase or slurry process, in a solution process there is usually no polymer solid or powder formed. Typically, the reaction temperature and the reaction pressure are higher than in gas phase or slurry process to maintain the polymer in solution. The solution process tends to use an inert solvent that dissolves the polymer as it is formed, subsequently the solvent is separated and the polymer is pelletized. The solution process is considered versatile in that a wide spectrum of product properties can be obtained by varying the catalyst composition, the pressure, the temperature and the comonomer employed.

Since relatively small reactors are used for a solution process, the, residence time is short and grade change over can be rapid. For example two reactors in series operated at pressures of up to 750 psi(« 5200 kPa) and temperatures up to 250 °C in the reactor can be used. Fresh and recycled olefin monomer is compressed up to 800 psig (« 5500 kPa) and pumped into the polymerization reactor by a feed pump. The reaction is adiabatic and maintained at a maximum reactor outlet of about 250 °C. Although a single reactor can be used, multiple reactors provide a narrower residence time distribution and therefore a better control of molecular weight distribution.. Step B)

The second step of the process according to the present invention, being step B), relates to contacting the main group metal hydrocarbyl branched growth product obtained in step A) with a quenching agent to obtain a branched polymer.

In an embodiment, the quenching agent is a protic reagent. In a preferred embodiment the protic agent is water or an alcohol or a mixture thereof, preferably ethanol or methanol.

In this functionalization step, the intermediate product according to the present invention, viz. the main group metal chain growth product, is converted into the corresponding branched polyolefin.

Typically this can be done by a step to release the main group metal from the polymer chain (for example hydrolysis by water) using a quenching agent to replace the aluminum especially for example by H, a hydrocarbyl, a silyl group or a stannyl group.

In an embodiment, the quenching agent can be a hydrolyzing agent, wich can be a protic solvent, e.g. water or an alcohol, such as for example (acidified) methanol or ethanol, preferably water. In an embodiment, said quenching agent is typically a halogen-containing agent releasing a metal-halide or an anhydride releasing a metal-carboxylate. Typical examples are alkyl halides and anhydrides.

Using the process according to the present invention, branched polyolefins can be obtained. In an embodiment, the branched polyolefins and branched polyolefins having end functionalized branches have an average number molecular weight (M n ) between 500 and 1 ,000,000 g/mol, preferably between 1000 and 200.000 g/mol. The branched polyolefins and branched polyolefins having end functionalized branches according to the present invention preferably have a polydispersity index (D) of between 1 .1 and 10.0, more preferably between 1 .1 and 5.0, more preferably between 1 .1 and 4.0, even more preferably between 1 .5 and 2.5. The branched polyolefins may be composed of polyolefin blocks, which blocks may be linear or branched (both branched and short chain branched), atactic or isotactic, preferably, isotactic polyolefins in the case of poly-alpha-olefins, wherein the isotactic polyolefin is preferably isotactic polypropylene. An advantage of the present invention is that branched polyolefins can be obtained with a simple process in one single series of connected reactors in a continuous matter.

The branched polyolefins prepared according to the present invention may for example be used to introduce polar properties to enhance the interracial interactions in polyolefins blends with polar polymers or blends with different polyolefins with PEs.

Another advantage of the present invention is that β-Η transfer or elimination during step A) of olefin polymerization process is effectively blocked due to the use of a chain transfer reaction. Beta-hydride (or β-Η) elimination is a reaction in which a polymeryl group containing β-hydrogens bonded to a metal center is converted into the corresponding macromolecular alkene and the corresponding metal-bonded hydride. Beta-hydride (or β-Η) transfer to monomer is a reaction in which a polymeryl group containing β-hydrogens bonded to a metal center is converted into a macromolecular alkene and the hydride is transferred to an olefin coordinated to the metal thus forming another alkyl group bonded to said metal center. Alternatively, β-alkyl transfer or elimination is also known. In this case, the polymeryl must have an alkyl group (typically a methyl) on the β-carbon. β-Alkyl transfer or elimination typically results in unsaturated macromolecules, containing an allyl chain end, and a new metal alkyl. These are undesired processes since they lead to non-end-functionalized polyolefins. Examples

The invention is further illustrated by the following non-limiting examples merely used to further explain certain embodiments of the present invention.

General considerations

All manipulations were performed under an inert dry nitrogen atmosphere using either standard Schlenk or glove box techniques. Dry, oxygen free toluene was employed as solvent for all polymerizations. rac-Me2Si(lnd)2ZrCl2 (zirconocene complex) was purchased from MCAT GmbH, Konstanz, Germany. Methylaluminoxane (MAO, 30 wt.% solution in toluene) was purchased from Chemtura. Diethyl zinc (1 .0 M solution in hexanes), triisobutyl aluminum (1 .0 M solution in hexanes), Tetrachloroethane-d2 was purchased from Sigma Aldrich. ODIBA is di(isobutyl)(7-octen-1 -yl)aluminum, NDIBA is bis(isobutyl)(5-ethylen-yl-2-norbornene) aluminum,

DEZ: diethyl zinc (additional chain shuttling agent),

TIBA is tri(isobutyl) aluminum (additional chain transfer agent).

Method of analyzing the products

After the reaction has ended, the products were removed from the reactor and purified by repeatedly washing with acidic ethanol (containing 5-10 % concentrated HCI) and dried under vacuum at 60 °C for 18 hours.

Several analyses were carried out on the products to determine the yield, the percentage functionalization, the molecular weight and the polydispersity index (D). The yield was determined by weighing the powder obtained. The percentage of functionalization was determined by 1 H NMR carried out at 130 °C using deuterated tetrachloroethane (TCE-d2) as the solvent. The molecular weight (Mn) in kilograms per mole and the D were both determined by means of HT-SEC. High temperature size exclusion chromatography was performed at 160 °C using a high speed GPC (Freeslate, Sunnyvale, USA). Detection: IR4 (PolymerChar, Valencia, Spain). Column set: three Polymer Laboratories 13 μιη PLgel Olexis, 300 x 7.5 mm. 1 ,2,4- Trichlorobenzene (TCB) was used as eluent at a flow rate of 1 mL min 1 . TCB was freshly distilled prior to use. The molecular weights and the corresponding D were calculated from HT SEC analysis with respect to narrow polyethylene standards (D≤ 1 .5 by PSS, Mainz, Germany).

1 H NMR characterization.

1 H NMR analysis carried out at 120-130 °C using deuterated tetrachloroethane (TCE- d2) as the solvent and recorded in 5 mm tubes on a Varian Mercury spectrometer operating at frequencies of 400 MHz. Chemical shifts are reported in ppm versus tetramethylsilane and were determined by reference to the residual solvent.

Heteronuclear multiple-bond correlation spectra (HMBC) were recorded with pulse field gradients. The spectral windows for 1 H and 13C axes were 6075.3 and 21367.4 Hz, respectively. The data were collected in a 2560 x 210 matrix and processed in a 1 K x 1 K matrix. The spectra were recorded with the acquisition time 0.21 1 s, relaxation delay 1 .4 s and number of scans equal to 144 210 increments.

Solid-state 13 C{ 1 H} Cross-Polarization/Magic-Angle Spinning (CP/MAS) NMR and 13 C{ 1 H} Insensitive Nuclei Enhanced by Polarization Transfer (INEPT) experiments were carried out on a Bruker AVANCE-III 500 spectrometer employing a double- resonance H-X probe for rotors with 2.5 mm outside diameter. These experiments utilized a MAS frequency of 25.0 kHz, a 2.5 με/2 pulse for 1 H and 13 C, a CP contact time of 2.0 ms and TPPM decoupling during acquisition. The CP conditions were pre- optimized using L-alanine. The 13 C{ 1 H} INEPT spectra were recorded using the refocused-INEPT sequence with a J-evolution period of either 1/3 JCH or 1/6 JCH assuming a 1 JCH of 150 Hz, i.e. for a J-evolution time of 1/3 JCH the signals from CH and CH3 groups are positive, while those of CH2 are negative. The 2D 1 H- 1 H double quantum-single quantum (DQ-SQ) correlation experiments and DQ build-up experiments were carried out on a Bruker AVANCE-II I 700 spectrometer using a 2.5 mm solid-state MAS double-resonance probe. These experiments employed a spinning frequency of 25.0 kHz. DQ excitation and reconversion was performed using the broadband back-to-back (BaBa) sequence. Chemical shifts for 1 H and 13C are reported relative to TMS using solid adamantane as an external.

Size exclusion chromatography (SEC).

The molecular weight in kg/mol and the PDI were determined by means of high temperature size exclusion chromatography which was performed at 160 °C using a high speed GPC (Freeslate, Sunnyvale, USA). Detection: IR4 (PolymerChar, Valencia, Spain). Column set: three Polymer Laboratories 13 μιη PLgel Olexis, 300 x 7.5 mm. 1 ,2,4-Trichlorobenzene (TCB) was used as eluent at a flow rate of 1 mL min-1 . TCB was freshly distilled prior to use. The molecular weights and the corresponding PDI were calculated from HT SEC analysis with respect to narrow polyethylene standards (PSS, Mainz, Germany).

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).

Melting (T m ) and crystallization (T c ) temperatures as well as enthalpies of the transitions were measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) using a DSC Q100 from TA Instruments. The measurements were carried out at a heating and cooling rate of 10 °C min 1 from -60 °C to 160 °C. The transitions were deduced from the second heating and cooling curves

All manipulations were performed under an inert dry nitrogen atmosphere using either standard Schlenk or glove box techniques. Dry, oxygen-free toluene was employed as solvent for all polymerizations. Triphenylcarbenium tetrakis(pentafluorophenyl) borate ([Ph3C][B(C6F 5 )4]) and diisobutylaluminum hydride purchased from Sigma Aldrich. 1 ,7-Octadiene and 5-vinyl-2-norbornene were purchased from Sigma Aldrich and dried with 4-A molecular sieves under an inert atmosphere. Methylaluminoxane (MAO, 30 wt.% solution in toluene) was purchased from Chemtura. Triisobutyl aluminum (1 .0 M solution in hexanes) purchased from Aldrich. rac-Me2Si(lnd)2ZrCI2 was purchased from MCAT GmbH, Konstanz, Germany.

Synthesis of diisobutyl(oct-7-en-1-yl)aluminum and (2-(bicvclo[2.2.1lhept-5-en-2- vDethvDdiisobutylaluminum.

Diisobutyl(oct-7-en-1-yl)aluminum and (2-(bicyclo[2.2.1]hept-5-en-2- yl)ethyl)diisobutylaluminum were synthesized by hydroalumination of excess 1 ,7- octadiene and 5-vinyl-2-norbornene using diisobutylaluminum hydride at 60 °C for 6 h in a 200 mL Schlenk flask equipped with a magnetic stirrer. The remaining reagents (1 ,7-octadiene and 5-vinyl-2-norbornene) after the hydroalumination reaction were removed by evacuation.

Copolymerization Procedure.

Polymerization reactions were carried out in stainless steel Buchi reactors (300 mL). Prior to the polymerization, the reactor was dried in vacuo at 40 °C and flushed with dinitrogen. Toluene (70 mL) and ODIBA or NDIBA (second type of olefin monomer comprising a chain transfer agent functionality) solution in toluene (20 ml_, Al/Zr « 285) were added and stirred at 50 rpm for 30 min. Polymerization was staaddition of DEZ (1 .0 ml_, 1 .0 M solution in hexanes, Al/Zr « 50 equiv.), the zirconocene complex and optionally MAO or TIBA. The solutions were saturated with predefined amount of ethylene first type of olefin monomer). The reactors were then pressurized to the desired pressure (2 bars) with ethylene and the pressure was maintained for a predefined time (5 min). At the end of the reaction, the ethylene feed was stopped and the residual ethylene was vented off. The resulting mixture was quenched directly with a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid in methanol, filtered and dried under reduced pressure at 60 °C for 18 h. The precipitated powder was filtered out and dried under vacuum at 60 °C for 18 h.