Fruitful Innovation — 1. The Polyethylene Discovery
Discovery of the ‘growth reaction’ in Ziegler’s laboratory opened the way for the eventual discovery of linear polyethylene, since the latter represents only an extremely long continuation of the stepwise chain growth process of adding one molecule of ethylene after another. To paraphrase the old Chinese saying: ‘The longest polymer chain begins with a single step.’ But the extrapolation was extreme, analogous to extending a trip to the corner drug store to a cross-country journey, or an Aerobee rocket flight to the Apollo 14 mission. Despite its remoteness, however, the possibility of making a high polymer was not entirely unrecognised as at least a distant goal.
KeywordsNatural Rubber High Polymer Chain Straightener Ethylene Polymer Growth Reaction
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