Ethylene-aromatic vinyl compound copolymer and method for...

Synthetic resins or natural rubbers -- part of the class 520 ser – Synthetic resins – Polymers from only ethylenic monomers or processes of...

Reexamination Certificate

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C526S126000, C526S131000, C526S160000, C526S165000, C526S170000, C526S943000

Reexamination Certificate

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06348556

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a novel ethylene-aromatic vinyl compound copolymer and a method for its production.
2. Discussion of Background
For the production of a copolymer of ethylene with an aromatic vinyl compound such as styrene, studies have been conducted primarily by using so-called heterogeneous Ziegler-Natta catalysts (e.g. Polymer Bulletin 20, 237-241 (1988)). However, conventional heterogeneous Ziegler-Natta catalyst systems are not so practical, since the catalytic activities are low, the styrene content in the product is low, or the product does not have a uniform regular copolymer structure or contains a substantial amount of homopolymers.
Further, some ethylene-styrene copolymers obtainable by using so-called homogeneous Ziegler-Natta catalyst systems comprising a catalyst of a transition metal compound and an organoaluminum compound, and methods for their production have been known.
JP-A-3-163088 and JP-A-7-53618 disclose styrene-ethylene copolymers wherein no normal styrene chain is present i.e. so-called pseudo random copolymers, obtained by using a complex having a so-called constrained geometrical structure. Here, a normal styrene chain is meant for a head-to-tail bond chain.
However, phenyl groups in the alternating structure of ethylene-styrene present in such pseudo random copolymers, have no stereoregularity.
Hereinafter, styrene and cyclopentadienyl may sometimes be represented by St and Cp, respectively.
JP-A-6-49132 and Polymer Preprints, Japan 42, 2292 (1993) disclose methods for producing similar styrene-ethylene copolymers wherein no normal St chain is present, i.e. so-called pseudo random copolymers, by using a catalyst comprising a bridged Cp type Zr complex and a cocatalyst.
However, according to Polymer Preprints, Japan 42, 2292 (1993), phenyl groups in the alternating structure of ethylene-styrene present in such pseudo random copolymers, have no substantial stereoregularity.
On the other hand, a styrene-ethylene alternating copolymer obtainable by using a Ti complex having a substituted phenol type ligand, is known (JP-A-3-250007 and Stud. Surf. Sci. Catal. 517 (1990)). This copolymer has a feature that it consists essentially of an alternating structure of ethylene-styrene and contains substantially no other structure such as an ethylene chain, styrene chain, a structure comprising an ethylene chain and styrene, a structure of e.g. a head to head or tail to tail bond of styrene. The alternating degree (value &lgr; in the present specification) of the copolymer is at least 70, substantially at least 90.
Namely, the resulting copolymer is a copolymer having a very high degree of alternation and consisting substantially solely of the alternating structure, whereby it is substantially difficult to change the compositional ratio of the copolymer consisting of 50% of ethylene and 50% of styrene by molar fraction.
Further, the stereoregularity of phenyl groups of which copolymer is isotactic, but the isotactic diad index m is about 0.92.
Further, the weight average molecular weight of this copolymer is low at a level of 20,000, which is inadequate to provide practically useful physical properties. It should also be added that the catalytic activities are very low, and the copolymer can hardly be regarded as practically useful, since it is obtained as a mixture with e.g. syndiotactic polystyrene.
Further, Macromol. Chem., 191, 2387 (1990) has reported a styrene-ethylene copolymer prepared by using CpTiCl
3
as a transition metal compound and methyl alumoxane as a cocatalyst. It is disclosed that at a certain specific transition metal compound/cocatalyst ratio, a pseudo random copolymer free from a styrene chain can be obtained although the catalytic activities are very low, but no disclose is given with respect to the stereoregularity of the ethylene-styrene alternating structure of the resulting copolymer.
In Eur. Polym. J., 31, 79 (1995), copolymerization of ethylene and styrene is carried out under various conditions using the same catalyst. However, it is disclosed that obtained are syndiotactic polystyrene and polyethylene only, and no copolymer is obtainable.
Macromolecules, 29, 1158 (1996) discloses that copolymerization of ethylene and styrene is carried out by means of CpTiCl
3
and a boron type cocatalyst to obtain a copolymer having a high degree of alternation together with syndiotactic polystyrene and polyethylene. However, no stereoregularity is observed in the ethylene-styrene alternating structure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide an ethylene-aromatic vinyl compound copolymer containing an aromatic vinyl compound in an amount of from 1 to less than 55% by molar fraction, wherein the stereoregularity of phenyl groups in the alternating structure of ethylene and an aromatic vinyl compound contained in a proportion not higher than a certain level, is an isotactic structure, and a method for its production.
The present invention provides an ethylene-aromatic vinyl compound copolymer having an aromatic vinyl compound content of from 1 to less than 55% by molar fraction (“% by molar fraction” will hereinafter be represented by “mol %”), wherein the stereoregularity of phenyl groups in the alternating structure of ethylene and an aromatic vinyl compound represented by the following formula (1) contained in its structure, is represented by an isotactic diad index m of more than 0.75, and the alternating structure index &lgr; represented by the following formula (i) is smaller than 70 and larger than 1:
&lgr;=
A
3/
A
2×100  (i)
where A3 is the sum of areas of three peaks a, b and c attributable to an ethylene-aromatic vinyl compound alternating structure represented by the following formula (1′), obtained by 13C-NMR, and A2 is the sum of areas of peaks attributable to the main chain methylene and methine carbon, as observed within a range of from 0 to 50 ppm by 13C-NMR using TMS as standard,
where Ph is an aromatic group such as a phenyl group, and xa is an integer of at least 2 representing the number of repeating units,
wherein Ph is an aromatic group such as a phenyl group, and xa is an integer of at least 2 representing the number of repeating units.
Further, the present invention provides a method for producing the ethylene-aromatic vinyl compound copolymer as defined above, wherein polymerization is carried out by means of a transition metal compound containing two unsubstituted or substituted indenyl groups or a transition metal compound containing one unsubstituted or substituted cyclopentadienyl group and one unsubstituted or substituted indenyl group, and a cocatalyst.


REFERENCES:
patent: 5043408 (1991-08-01), Kakugo et al.
patent: 5543484 (1996-08-01), Chung et al.
patent: 5652315 (1997-07-01), Inoue et al.
patent: 5658625 (1997-08-01), Bradfute et al.
patent: 5703187 (1997-12-01), Timmers
patent: 5883213 (1999-03-01), Arai et al.
patent: 6066709 (2000-05-01), Arai et al.
patent: WO 94/00500 (1994-01-01), None
patent: WO 95/32095 (1995-11-01), None
patent: WO 98/09999 (1998-03-01), None
Stud. Surf. Sci. Catal. pp. 517-529, 1990.
J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 53, pp. 1453-1460, 1994.
Derwent Publications, AN 1989-170557, JP 01 113447, May 2, 1989.
Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication JP-4-130114.

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