Extrusion Polymerization: Catalyzed Synthesis of Crystalline Linear Polyethylene Nanofibers Within a Mesoporous Silica

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Science  24 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5436, pp. 2113-2115
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5436.2113

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Crystalline nanofibers of linear polyethylene with an ultrahigh molecular weight (6,200,000) and a diameter of 30 to 50 nanometers were formed by the polymerization of ethylene with mesoporous silica fiber–supported titanocene, with methylalumoxane as a cocatalyst. Small-angle x-ray scattering analysis indicated that the polyethylene fibers consist predominantly of extended-chain crystals. This observation indicates a potential utility of the honeycomb-like porous framework as an extruder for nanofabrication of polymeric materials.

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