The successful application of catalytic chain transfer polymerisation (CCTP) by adopting an ‘in situ’ catalyst preparation methodology in several polymerisation media is described. More specifically, this study is focused on reporting the development of ‘in situ’ CCTP within a CO2 expanded phase polymerisation process, which achieved high yields of polymer whilst minimising both VOC footprint and CO2 compression costs. The ‘in situ’ method is shown to be effective in controlling polymerisations conducted in both conventional solvents and bulk under inert atmosphere, delivering molecular weight reductions and a Cs value of appropriate similar magnitude to those achieved by the benchmark, commercially sourced CoPhBF catalyst. The ‘in situ’ effect has been achieved with equal efficiency when both using catalysts with different axial ligands and where the complex is required to undergo a facile ligand dissociation in order to create the required catalyst necessary to achieve CCTP control. Furthermore, both catalysts are shown to effectively control polymerisations in a CO2 expanded phase process, in which a small amount of compressed CO2 is introduced to reduce the viscosity of the reaction mixture, allowing for easy heat transfer and good catalyst diffusion during reaction. In this way, yield limitations imposed to avoid the Trommsdorff effect required in bulk processing and the need for post precipitation have been successfully overcome. Both of these factors further improve the sustainability of such a polymerisation process. However, the ‘in situ’, high pressure expanded phase environment was observed to retard the ligand dissociation required for catalyst activation.
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