Rice Husk-Derived Silica as a Support for Zirconocene/MMAO Catalyst in Ethylene Polymerization
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Rice husk is an agricultural waste abundantly available from rice production. It was due to the high content of silica (SiO2) inside rice husk, burning it under the control condition provides ash with the silica content up to 97% which can be simultaneously or consequently extracted to obtain rice husk-derived silica (RHS). In order to valorize the RHS, in this study it was used as a support for zirconocene/MMAO catalyst in ethylene polymerization, compared with commercial silica (CMS). It was found that rice husk-derived silica (RHS) has a larger surface area and lower amount of impurities than CMS. After immobilizing MMAO cocatalyst onto the silicas, it was observed that both silicas exhibit good distribution of MMAO all over the particles, but RHS has a higher content of MMAO. When using both silicas in the polymerization systems, it was observed that RHS gave a higher catalytic activity to the polymerization system than CMS (202 and 150 kg pol/mol Zr h). This is due to RHS having the lower amount of impurities especially Na2O which remains only in CMS from the production of commercial silica. The polymer obtained from the polymerization system with RHS has a good morphology suggesting that RHS still retains the advantage of providing a polymer with a good morphology as same as the conventional silica supports.
KeywordsRice husk Silica Zirconocene Polymerization
The authors thank the Grant for International Research Integration: Chula Research Scholar, Ratchadaphiseksomphot Endowment Fund, and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) for the financial support of this project.
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