Two different catalysts (bis[N-(3-tert-butylsalicylidene)-pentafluoroanilinato] titanium (IV) dichloride and [1-(8-quinolyl)indenyl] chromium (III) dichloride catalysts) activated with aluminoxane based co-catalysts (MAO, PMAO, MMAO12 and MMAO3A) have been evaluated in the polymerisation of ethylene leading to UHMWPE having a reduced number of entanglements between the chains. The effect of a co-catalyst modifier (BHT) on the catalytic systems and the resulting polymers is also addressed. Both catalysts are capable to promote the synthesis of UHMWPE having a reduced amount of entanglements in the conditions used.
Uniaxial solid-state deformation of UHMWPE samples of different molar masses have been evaluated and related with the entanglement state of the polymers synthesised. A clear relationship between some mechanical properties and the molar mass/entanglement density of the polymers synthesised has been found.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.