Heterobimetallic Complex for Homo- and Copolymerization
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Olefin polymerization is an important process for making many plastics that we use in our daily lives. One of the problems with current polymer manufacturing practices is that it is difficult to synthesize certain types of polyolefins. For example, more efficient catalysts are needed for the polymerization of polar olefins to make functional plastics. These materials can be used in a wide range of applications, such as water-resistant paints, adhesives, and drug delivery devices. The primary goal of my proposed summer research project is to develop new Nickel based catalysts that are active for olefin homo- and copolymerization. We are particularly interested in the polymerization of monomers such as acrylates, vinyl acetates, and vinyl halides since they endow polymers with unique material properties. Furthermore, we would also like to have the capability to fine-tune polymer characteristics such as molecular weight and branching. Another goal of my project will be to prepare heterobimetallic complexes comprising of nickel and either alkali or zinc ions. The steric and electronic properties of the heterobimetallic complexes could be readily tuned by replacing one secondary metal ion for another. The success of this project will further our knowledge of olefin polymerization catalysts and may lead to the development of new techniques for manufacturing.