Supercharge Styrene Polymerization Control with Dorf Ketal ACtifyTM Technology

Source: AIChE
  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 12, 2016
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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Just over twenty years ago, the styrene monomer industry witnessed a dramatic change in the accepted method of in-process polymer control.  In the 20 years since then, not a lot has changed.  New chemistry, HPHA (HydroxyPropyl Hydroxylamine), was introduced with the intent to fully replace highly toxic, di-nitro retarders.  However, limitations in effectiveness, particularly in the high temperature zones of the process made this impossible.   Shortly thereafter, various forms of TEMPO compounds were offered, also with the expectation of being a “one product solution” for styrene polymerization control.   HPHA and TEMPO were both highly successful at reducing the amount of steady-state polymer produced in a styrene distillation train.  Unfortunately, because of a combination of economic and reliability concerns, most users decided to continue using Di-Nitro retarders in combination with the new inhibitors. 

In the following years, many suppliers have tried to introduce new chemistries that would be safer to use and would serve the same functionality as a polymerization retarder.  They have all failed to be accepted in the marketplace primarily for two reasons; They are too expensive, and they don’t work as well as existing retarders.

A few years ago, researchers at Dorf Ketal discovered an amazing new chemical “Activator” that, when added to any existing inhibitor or retarder, dramatically improves the performance of the initial product.   ACtifyTM inhibitors are able to maintain lower steady state polymer levels, even when used in lower doses.  ACtifyTM retarders are able to maintain safe polymer levels for longer periods of time even when used at lower dosages.   Users have achieved significant savings through reductions in yield loss and product usage.  More importantly, this new ACtifyTM technology also works with non-toxic retarders.   Instead of using hazardous di-nitro compounds, producers now have a safer option that is cost-effective, and actually works better!  This paper will provide key information about the development and implementation of this new technology including data from commercial applications.

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