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How Ziegler Catalysts Work

The figure shows how the chains grow from a titanium atom on the edge of a crystal

and so on

Click to see a slideshow illustrating mechanism

Because active sites are on the surface of a crystal there are several different environments, with different electron distributions. This causes Ziegler catalysts to produce non-uniform poly(ethene). Some sites give linear poly(ethene) of differing chain lengths, some incorporate co-monomers readily to give branched poly(ethene).

Despite many hundreds of research-years there are still questions about details of the mechanism.

Click for more on how co- monomers are incorporated to give branches