Characterizing catalyst performance of DMCs on PO homopolymerization

Conference Dates

May 20-25, 2018


Double metal cyanide (DMC) complexes are known effective catalysts for the ring-opening polymerization of propylene oxide to generate polyether polyols (Scheme 1).1,2 The high activity of DMC catalysts relative to basic alkaline catalysts eliminates the need for expensive removal of residual catalyst from the product. Furthermore, the poly(propylene glycol) (PPG) products prepared by DMC catalysts have - contrary to products from alkaline catalysis - a low degree of unsaturation and narrow molecular weight distributions. Latter is advantageous with respect to the resulting low viscosities. A common challenge when applying DMC catalysts is the need for an activation procedure, leading to an induction period of unknown length (Figure 1).2,3 In a larger, usually semibatch process, PO monomer can only be added after the activation has been secured; the concentration of PO must not reach certain limits as its ring-opening is highly exothermal.

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