Chem 421: Introduction to Polymer Chemistry

Coordination (Ziegler-Natta) Polymerization

Early work:

Insertion of aluminum alkyls into olefins was studied by Ziegler:

Early olefin insertion chemistry

Important discovery: R3Al + Lewis acids:

Discovery of catalyst

Another important discovery: tacticity control:

Tacticity control


Overall Scheme of Coordination Polymerization

Z-N Polymerization

Mechanism of Coordination Polymerization

The mechanism is poorly understood because it takes place on the surface of an insoluble particle, a difficult situation to probe experimentally. The mechanism shown below is one of several models proposed to at least partially explain the action of the Ziegler-Natta systems, but it is only an approximation of the more complex process that actually occurs.

Mechanism of coordination polymerization

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