Advertisement

Polyolefins—The History and Economic Impact

  • Trevor J. Hutley
  • Mabrouk Ouederni
Chapter
Part of the Springer Series on Polymer and Composite Materials book series (SSPCM)

Abstract

Olefins, or alkenes, are hydrocarbon molecules with at least one double carbon–carbon bond. Polyolefins are polymer molecules made in an addition (chain-growth) polymerization, producing essentially linear high molecular weight thermoplastic polymers. A global industry of almost 170 million tons and value around $200 billion, has been created and developed in about 80 years, since the serendipitous discovery of polyethylene in 1933 at the research laboratories of ICI [Imperial Chemical Industries) in the UK and the start of PE commercial production in 1938. These polyolefin polymers are now  the major fraction (62 %) of the plastic materials which have transformed modern life. No other major material has appeared on the scene and achieved such a dominant and ubiquitous place in such a short time. As new materials, polyolefins have introduced new possibilities and benefits at attractive price points. Their annual growth rate remains exponential. Polyolefins are used in every sector of life and are processed by every significant polymer processing technology. The history of this polyolefin industry is inextricably linked with progress in the understanding and development of polymer science and technology, and the economic and commercial impact of this progress.  Consistent themes in this history are serendipity, discovery, research, feedstock, capital intensity, intellectual property, globalisation, merger & acquisition, and product and application development. Polyolefins remain highly technology-driven; they are indispensable to modern life; their significant growth and economic impact will continue.

Keywords

Gulf Cooperation Council Metallocene Catalyst Cyclic Olefin Copolymer Linear Polyethylene Gulf Cooperation Council Country 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Polyolefins Report. IHS Chemicals (2014)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. Galli, J.C. Haylock, E. Albizzati, A. Denicola, High performance polyolefins: polymers engineered to meet needs of the 21st century. Macromol. Symp. 98(1), 1309–1332 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Polyisobutylene: 2014 World Market Outlook and Forecast up to 2018, Research & Markets. January, 2014Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    H. Morawetz, Polymers the Origins and Growth of a Science. Wiley-Interscience (1985) pp. 20–132-3, ISBN 0-471-89638-1Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    M.E.P Friedrich, C.S. Marvel, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 52, 376 (1930)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R.B. Seymour and T.C. Cheng, History of Polyolefins The World’s Most Widely Used Polymers. (D Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht NL, 1986) ISBN-13: 978-94-010-8916-6, doi:  10.1007/978-94-009-5472-4
  7. 7.
    F.M. McMillan, The Chain Straighteners, Fruitful Innovation: The Discovery of Linear and Stereo-Regular Synthetic Polymers. (Macmillan Press, London, 1979), ISBN 0-333-25929-7Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    L. Trossarelli, V. Brunella, Polyethylene: discovery and growth, UHMWPE Meeting (University of Torino, Italy, 2003)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    C. Flavell-While, Plastic Fantastic. www.tcetoday.com Nov 2011, pp. 49–50
  10. 10.
    M. Lauzon, PE: the resin that helped win World War II. Plastics News 19(23), p27 (2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    D.A. Hounshell, J. Smith, Science and Corporate Strategy: Du Pont R&D, 1902–1980. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    S. Ali, Polyolefin catalyst market overview. Catal. Rev. 27(4), 91–6 (2014) ISSN 0898-3089Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    A. Clark, Olefin polymerization on supported chromium oxide catalysts. Catal. Rev. Sci. Eng. 3, 145–173 (1970) doi: 10.1080/01614947008076858
  14. 14.
    M.W. Haenel, Historical Landmarks of Chemistry: Karl Ziegler (Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim an der Ruhr, 2008)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    H. Martin, Polymers, Patents, Profits: A Classic Case Study for Patent Infighting. (Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2007), ISBN: 9783527318094, doi:  10.1002/9783527610402
  16. 16.
    M. Gahleitner, W. Neissl, C. PAULIK, Two Centuries of Polyolefins. (Kunststoffe international, 2010), pp. 8–11Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    E. Vandenberg, History of Polyolefins Chapter 5. (D Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht NL, 1986), ISBN-13: 978-94-010-8916-6Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    W. Kaminsky, The Discovery of Metallocene Catalysts and Their Present State of the Art, Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry. (University of Hamburg, May 2004), doi: 10.1002/pola.20292
  19. 19.
    A. Shamiri, M.H. Chakrabarti, S. Jahan, M.A. Hussain, W. Kaminsky, P. Aravind, W. Yehye, The influence of ziegler-natta and metallocene catalysts on polyolefin structure. Prop. Process. Ability Mater. 7, 5069–5108 (2014). doi: 10.3390/ma7075069 Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    G.M. Benedikt, B.L. Goodall, Metallocene Catalyzed Polymers: Materials, Processing and Markets. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008), ISBN 0080950426Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    World Polyethylene, Demand and Sales Forecast, Market Share Market Sixe, Market Leaders (The Freedonia Group, Report, 2014)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    J.C. Sworen, Modeling Linear Low Density Polyethylene: Copolymers Containing Precise Structures, PhD Dissertation, University of Florida (2004)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    J. Karger-Kocsis, Polypropylene: Structure, blends and Composites, vol 1, 2, 3. (Springer Science & Business Media, 1995)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    C.W. Adams, Allocating Patent Rights Between Earlier and Later Inventions. St. Louis U.L.J. 54, 47–55 (2010)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    H. Sailors, J.P. Hogan, History of polyolefins. J Macromol Sci Part A Chem 15(7), 1377–1402 (1981). doi: 10.1080/00222338108056789 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    C. Freeman, L. Soete, The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition. Routledge, Polyethylene §5.7 pp. 123–124 (1997), ISBN-10: 1855670704Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    J. Soarez, T. McKenna, Polymer Reaction Engineering. “Polyolefin Reactors and Processes”. (Wiley, Hoboken, 2012) doi: 10.1002/9783527646944.ch4

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business Development ConsultantPan Gulf HoldingAl KhobarKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Head of Research and DevelopmentQAPCODohaQatar

Personalised recommendations