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Science  23 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5547, pp. 1619-1621
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5547.1619e

Polymer syntheses that can be performed in environmentally friendly aqueous media are of current interest. Aqueous emulsion polymerization already is used in industry to make coatings and dyestuffs. It would be desirable to extend such methods to metallocene catalysts, which offer a high degree of structural control in the polymerization of olefins, but metallocene complexes are very electrophilic and have to be handled in strictly water-free environments.

Manders et al. now demonstrate that titanium metallocenes can be used in the emulsion polymerization of styrene. In their system, the catalyst is encapsulated, and thus shielded from water, during a pre-polymerization step. It remains sufficiently accessible to the styrene monomers so that the bulk of the polymer is produced within the emulsified droplet.—JU

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.40, 4006 (2001).

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