Manufacture of Polypropylene

Propylene monomer is produced by catalytic cracking of petroleum fractions or the steam cracking of hydrocarbons during the production of ethylene. Conventional processes in liquid phase and in slurry use stirred reactors and a diluent such as naphtha, hexane, or heptane. The reaction takes place typically at a temperature of about 60-80°C and at 0.5-1.5 MPa, and the final product is obtained as a solid suspension of polypropylene in the liquid phase. Isolation of the resin requires a separation step (such as centrifugation) followed by washing the resin free of residual diluent and drying.

The manufacturing process for polypropylene has undergone many changes since 1957 when the first facility went on stream. In the 1960s the Novolon gasphase process and the Phillips process for polymerizing liquid propylene were introduced. These processes had the advantage of not using any diluents, but they generally suffer from relatively poorer catalyst performance and some limitations

Table 2.6 Comparison of Low-Pressure Production Processes for Polypropylene


Reaction Phase



Weight Distribution

Isotactic Index (%)



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