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PROCESS AND APPARATUS FOR THE SCREENING OF SUPPORTED CATALYSTS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010042D
Publication Date: 2002-Oct-15
Document File: 5 page(s) / 54K

Publishing Venue

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Abstract

A novel reactor design capable of rapidly and simultaneously screening multiple supported catalysts for catalytic activity and particle morphology of the polymer produced in a single reactor run, comprising a reactor equipped with an agitator with multiple agitator blades having gas and liquid permeable baskets made from metal sieves large enough to allow solvent and olefinic monomer to penetrate into the basket but small enough to prevent catalyst particles contained therein from escaping attached to the agitator blades with hinges in such a way that they can spin at an angle of about 45 degrees to the plane of the agitator to ensure maximum turbulence within the basket.

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PROCESS AND APPARATUS FOR THE SCREENING OF SUPPORTED CATALYSTS

Gas phase and slurry olefin polymerization processes are well known and described, for example, in United States Patents 4,543,399; 5,352,749; 5,883,204; and 5,977,251.� Gas phase and slurry phase olefin polymerization processes typically employ supported catalysts.� Each supported catalyst tends to have its own unique properties, such as the activity of the supported catalyst and the specific characteristics of the polymer produced.

In traditional supported catalyst research and development, workers synthesize a specific supported catalyst and evaluate it in a test reactor (such as the test reactor described by Carberry on pages 78 and 79 of Catalysis Reviews, 3(1) 1969) to determine, for example, the activity of the supported catalyst and the characteristics of the polymer produced.� �

When a large number of specific supported catalysts are to be evaluated, it is known to automate a plurality of such test reactors.� However, such automated plural test reactor systems are disadvantageous as:� (a) the operation of multiple reactors requires more equipment and labor than operation of a single reactor; (b) automated plural test reactor systems typically require a relatively larger amount of supported catalyst than is desired for catalyst screening purposes; and (c) the use of multiple testing reactors may introduce variability attributable to different reaction environments.

Processes and reactors for the rapid screening of small quantities of polymerization catalysts are known.� See, for example, WO 98/03521 and WO 99/51980.�

An improved polymerization reactor and an improved process for screening supported catalysts have now been developed.� In particular, samples of supported catalysts to be screened are placed in gas and/or liquid permeable containers, such that the gaseous and/or liquid reactants flow readily into the container but the supported catalyst and resultant polymer is retained within the container.� A plurality of supported catalyst candidates may be placed in separate gas porous containers such that a relatively large number of such candidates can be screened using the same test reactor and same reaction conditions.� The improved reactor and process are described herein by referring to the Figures, in which commonly referenced items are commonly defined.

Figure 1 provides a polymerization test reactor 10 for the production of a polymer by polymerizing a monomer or monomers (such as ethylene, propylene, other C1-C10 alpha olefins or mixtures thereof) using a supported catalyst.� Reactor 10 has a gas or liquid inlet 11 (for introducing the monomer or monomers in a carrier gas or liquid), outlet 12 (for venting unreacted monomer or monomers and carrier gas or liquid) and fluidization means which comprise agitator 13.�

One or more gas or liquid permeable containers 14 are placed in reactor 10, with each container 14 containing a supported catalyst to be screened.� Conta...