As announced on www.pyramidpolymers.com, Dr. Lewis discussed a number of new research findings that he made at the 6th International Conference on Catalysis and Chemical Engineering. He also chaired the session he spoke in. The production of highly reactive polyisobutenes (HRPIBs) with an exo-olefinic end group content of 97% as made with the first truly recyclable initiator system was touched upon. High recovery of spent Lewis acid (up to 100%) is a common trait and solventless polymerization can be employed at room temperature with good molecular weights and yields. Unlike traditional Lewis acids (e.g., BF3), the one used by Lewis are not hazardous and do not require specialized equipment to handle them.
Another topic that was covered is a unique processing method that allows for the solubilization of metal halides in aliphatic solvents. Such solutions are highly effective in inducing the polymerization of olefins and further more are capable of controlled activity that allow their usage in neat monomer as well as at reaction temperatures as high as 50 °C. The aqueous polymerization of alkenes using superacids generated in situ was also touched upon. A potential replacement for MAO as developed by Lewis was mentioned in addition to a recapping of the results on the production of isobutene based polymers using heterogeneous initiators based on aluminoxanes.*
*A public disclosure of the unique activity of MAO supported on boric acid was made where it was suggested that such materials should be explored for use in coordination polymerization if they haven’t already been studied.