Answer to Question #17751 in Organic Chemistry for Alice

Question #17751
Describe the polymerisation of alkenes and the uses of at least on of these polymers.
Expert's answer
Ethylene is a rather stable molecule thatpolymerizes only upon contact with catalysts. The conversion is highly exothermic, that is the process releases a lot of heat. Coordination polymerization is the most pervasive technology, which means that metal chlorides or metal oxides are used. The most common catalysts consist of titanium(III) chloride, the so-called Ziegler-Natta catalysts. Another common catalyst is the Phillips catalyst, prepared by depositing chromium(VI) oxide on silica. Ethylene can be produced through radical polymerization, but this route is only limited utility and typically requires high pressure apparatus.

n H2C=CH2 <----> -[-CH2-CH2-]n

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