Main Polymers PE/PP/PS


Who should attend?

  • To provide comprehensive information on polymers and polymerization processes used to produce polyethylenes, polypropylenes and polystyrene.
Public :
  • Engineers and technical staff interested in the manufacturing of commodity polymers.

Level : Proficiency

Course Content


      • Various polymer families: commodities, engineering, high performance polymers.
      • History of polyethylene development.
      • History of polypropylene development, the youngest of all commodity polymers. Various types of grades (homo, block, random, isotactic, syndiotactic, atactic...); their main applications.
      • Project management in petrochemical industry. Patent strategy. Staging of projects Order of magnitude of investment costs.
      • Fixed and variable cost for site production and outside logistics.
      • Polymer pricing mechanisms. Notion of economical spread. Explanations of the causes of polymers wide price fluctuations.

      • Review of the various types of catalytic systems for polyolefins.
      • Mass and heat transfer in the heterophasic polymerization of polyolefins.
      • Multigrain model of the growing particles and variations around this model.

      • Techniques implemented in polymers production: solution, bulk, emulsion, suspension or slurry, gas phase.
      • Advantages and drawbacks of these techniques, consequences for process implementation.
      • Main processes involved in production of polyethylene and polypropylene. Basic schemes and average operating conditions. Influence of operating parameters (temperature, pressure, reactants proportion) on product quality.

      • General presentation of high pressure and low pressure polyethylene processes, with the various types of polymers grades they can produce. Low, medium, high, ultra-low density...; narrow, broad molecular weight distribution; low, high melt indexes...
      • Main applications per family of grades.
      • High pressure processes. Heat transfer in reactors and conversion rate. Comparison of autoclave, tubular mono-injection, tubular multiple injection reactors; consequences on product quality. Specific equipment technology used in HPPE (hypercompressors, letdown valve...).
      • Safety risks associated with ethylene decomposition.
      • Main low pressure catalytic processes. Main characteristics of catalyst and reactor types. Which market do they serve? Announced developments.
      • Various polymerization processes available for polypropylene production (gas phase, loop, liquid pool...). Staged polymerization for broad molecular weight distribution and impact copolymers. New development with single reactor double reaction zone.
      • Polymer finishing. Extrusion. Storage. Logistics. Supply chain.
      • Main safety issues. Catalyst killing system in case of emergency.

      • Main design and operation characteristics.
      • How to treat run-away in case of thermal initiation.

Learning Objectives

  • Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:
  • understand the global technical and economical structure of commodity polymers, by far the biggest outlet of petrochemistry,
  • master the link between product slate and process selection in function of company marketing strategy,
  • know the main industrial commodity polymers processes available for licensing, and their main characteristics,
  • be aware of the main industrial safety and operational problems.

Ways & Means

  • Applications and case studies treated in small groups, based on typical situations encountered in the normal or unsettled operation of these units.
To French entities : IFP Training is QUALIOPI certified ; you may contact your OPCO about potential funding.
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