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Main Polymers PE/PP/PS

Main Polymers PE/PP/PS

5 days
This course is not scheduled.
Who should attend?


    • Engineers and technical staff interested in these polymers production.


  • Proficiency
  • To provide comprehensive information on polymers and polymerization processes used to produce polyethylenes, polypropylenes and polystyrene.
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.
Course Content


0.5 day

  • 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.
  • 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.


1 day

  • 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.


3 days

  • 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 (hyper compressors, let-down 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.
  • Main safety issues. Catalyst killing system in case of emergency.


0.5 day

  • Main design and operation characteristics.
  • How to treat run-away in case of thermal initiation.
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Ways & Means
  • Applications and case studies treated in small groups, based on typical situations encountered in the normal or unsettled operation of these units.