Metal Complexes for Catalytic Polymerizations

20 December 2019

Inorganic Chemistry

Charlotte K. Williams, Kyoko Nozaki

View Journal Article / Working Paper

The production of polymers occurs worldwide on a scale exceeding 350 million tonnes/year, and polymerization catalysis is central to controlling the resulting polymers' physical−chemical properties and delivering cost-effective manufacturing. Catalyst selection is, therefore, critical just the same as in the production of small-molecule commodity chemicals. In contrast to small-molecule catalysts, polymerization catalysts also control the polymerization rate, selectivity, and productivity that govern the resulting materials’ crystallinity, decomposition temperature, viscosity, rheology, and mechanical performance. Catalyst selection may also be used to tune the polymer molecular weight, dispersity, chain composition, chain architecture, and regio- and/or stereochemistry. Innovation in polymerization catalysis requires an understanding of both the inorganic chemistry and the polymer macromolecular properties; for this reason, research in this field is naturally highly interdisciplinary.

To reflect this interdisciplinarity, we present the Virtual Issue “Metal Complexes for Catalytic Polymerizations”, depicting a collaboration between two leading ACS journals that publish research at the heart of this chemistry: Inorganic Chemistry and Macromolecules. The selection of articles necessarily focuses on recent work, the majority being published within the past 2 years. The articles that we chose to feature are, of course, personal and reflect our own research interests, enthusiasms, and perspectives. Because we both carry out research using homogeneous metal-based polymerization catalysts and because this issue is being coproduced by Inorganic Chemistry, our selection mostly focuses on metal catalysts. We have grouped the selections into themes and topics and have included articles that illustrate the potential for catalysis to influence the polymer properties.