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Method for initiating cationic polymerization of isobutylene by AlCl3

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In this work, an experiment was conducted to investigate the cationic polymerization of isobutylene (IB) with AlCl3 as the initiator; the experiment was carried out with C4 mixed gas as the raw material. The initial content of IB in the mixed C4 gas was 22% and the proportion of isobutylene in the mixed C4 was changed later by continuously adding pure IB. A suitable amount of the co-initiator toluene (C7H8) and a nucleophile such as diethyl ether (C4H10O) or ethyl acetate (C4H8O2) are suitably cited. We carried out experiments to investigate the effects of different initiator systems, different temperatures, different initiator additions, and other factors on polymerization products. The results show that we choose the initiation system: AlCl3 is 1% of the mass of isobutylene, and the two nucleophiles of diethyl ether and ethyl acetate account for 8% and 10% of the mass of AlCl3, respectively, at a reaction temperature of −30 °C, and the reaction time was controlled at 30 min. It is possible to obtain a relatively low molecular weight (Mn: 1000–4000) of a polyisobutylene product, a highly active polyisobutylene with a polydispersity coefficient (PDI) < 2.3 and an exo-olefin content of >70%. Through several experiments, we explored the impact of changing the experimental conditions on the polymerization products, and then provided a theoretical basis for the next industrial production.

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The authors acknowledge the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province, China (ZR2017QB006), and the Focus on research and development plan in Yantai city (2018XSCC038).

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Correspondence to Hui Tian or Qi Zhao.

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Deng, S., Tian, H., Sun, D. et al. Method for initiating cationic polymerization of isobutylene by AlCl3. J Polym Res 27, 55 (2020).

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  • Mixing C4 gas
  • Nucleophilic reagent