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Book Review Polypropylene Handbook. Polymerization Characterization Properties Processing Applications. Edited by E. P

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BOOKS
Polypropylene Handbook. Polymerization, Characterization, Properties,
Processing, Applications. Edited by
E. P . Moore, Jr. Hanser-Gardner,
Cincinnati, 1996. 419 pp., hardcover
$ 136.00. - ISBN 1-56990-208-9
Polypropylene (PP) is one of the most
widely used polymers, ranking alongside
polyethylene, polystyrene, and polyvinylchloride. World production of the
polymer is currently about 19 million tonnes, having increased twelve-fold since
1970, and the annual growth rate is forecast to continue at 6-8% in the near future. PP is already used in several thousand different applications in everyday
life and in technology, and new ones are
still being added. Work on further improving production methods is also going
on apace; an example of this is the development of metallocene catalysts, a topic
which has also reawakened interest in
polyolefines-related research in universities. However, most of the innovative
work in a field such as PP is, as one would
expect, carried out in industrial research
laboratories. It was therefore appropriate
that the publishing house Hanser should
choose a team of authors from industry to
write this monograph. Of the 20 authors,
18 are from Monte11 Polyolefins, the
world’s largest producer of PP and also
the main licensor for PP production technology.
The range of topics covered here is
broader than in previous monographs on
PP and other polyolefins. Scientific, technological, and economic aspects are all
treated, with a broad division of the subject into two parts.
Part 1 has the overall title “Polypropylene: The Material”. A brief historical introduction is followed by chapters on catalysts and polymerization mechanisms,
the structure and morphology of PP, additives, compounded PP products, and
physical properties. Two of the contributions are particularly worth mentioning.
In the chapter on catalysts E. Albizzati
and colleagues give a very precise and
comprehensive account of the six successive generations of catalysts that have
been deveIoped for propylene polymerization, including their mechanisms. Results
from industrial research especially are
well described and astutely analyzed. The
527 references include 140 patents. The
chapter on the structure and morphology
of PP, by R. A. Phillips and M. D.
Wolkowicz, is concise, rigorous, and easily understandable; it is certainly the best
treatment of the subject that has been
written up to now. The illustrations too
are excellent; they include a series of pho534
tographs showing with remarkable clarity
the microstructure of various elastomermodified PP blends. A noticeable characteristic of both these chapters, as also of
the others in Part 1, is that the authors
have been concerned throughout to explain the observed facts or to discuss them
in a wider context, whereas earlier treatments have often been content to merely
present them without further comment.
Part 2, entitled “Polypropylene: The
Business”, begins with a wide-ranging introductory chapter surveying all the commercial aspects of PP (trends in production figures and available capacity,
processes used, the producers themselves,
sources of monomer, economics of production, range of products, patent rights,
environmental aspects, and recycling).
The comprehensive information in the
form of numerical data and tables gives
some interesting insights. Thus, in 1994
there were 117 PP producers worldwide,
including 43 in Asia excluding Japan; by
1998 this region will have 27% of the
world’s production capacity, having overtaken both North America (23%) and
Western Europe (24%). The rest of the
chapters in Part 2 cover specific aspects in
detail : production processes, downstream
processing methods, applications (endproducts), and government regulations
and legislation affecting certain types of
PP products, such as specifications for
food industry applications. The chapter
by E. P. Moore on downstream processing methods for PP is especially comprehensive and clearly written. The contribution by C. G. Oertel on applications
contains much fairly mundane information but also some amusing items: for example, we discover that there are now
even banknotes made of PP (in Australia), and learn why carpeting in airports is made of PP rather than nylon (PP
is not attacked by battery acid that may
leak from electric trolleys). However,
some of the photographs in this chapter
are very poorly reproduced, a fault of production which the publishers will need to
rectify as soon as possible.
On comparing all the chapters it is seen
that there is a certain amount of overlapping. For example, the different generations of catalysts and their relative importance in technological and product
development are discussed in detail three
times, in Chapters 2,7, and 8. There is also
some duplication in the descriptions of the
many different variants and types of
polypropylene and their structures and
properties. This is undoubtedly one of the
disadvantages of having so many authors,
but other comparable monographs fare
no better in this respect. The book is indis-
c>VCH Vei-lupgeselkhuf~mhH, 0-69451 Wrinheim, 1997
pensable for everyone who seeks an up-todate survey of any aspect of polypropylene. It contains a wealth of detailed
information and expert in-depth analysis,
and a comprehensive bibliography for
further reading.
Waller Spaleck
Hoechst AG
Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
The Chemistry of Paper. (Series : RSC
Paperbacks.) By J. C . Roberts. Royal
Society o f Chemistry, London, 1996.
190 pp., paperback E 15.95.-ISBN
0-85404-518-X
This book by J. C. Roberts is intended
for students and others who wish to learn
more about paper manufacture. Its affordable price has been made possible by
avoiding color printing. That is unfortunate in one sense, as the more complicated
explanations could have been presented
much more impressively if color had been
used. In fact the chemistry of colloids,
wood constituents, process chemicals, and
dispersions, with which the book is concerned, is actually quite complex. The
treatment is divided into ten chapters,
which lead the reader carefully through
the various aspects. It can be said at the
outset that the author presents the whole
subject in a well-integrated way, although
some topics are treated too briefly.
In Chapter 1, “An Introduction to Paper”, the author begins by summarizing,
on the first page, the present state of the
art in high-speed paper handling machinery. However, the rate of 60 kmh-’ given
here as the upper limit is not up-to-date,
since there are now some newsprint paper
machines that achieve 90 kmh-’ (or
1500 mmin- in the units normally used
in the paper industry). Among the figures
that illustrate the text, the micrographs of
fibers and paper structure are especially
effective (e.g., on pages 2, 7, 13, 14,66, 72,
81, 85, 86, 119, and 142). Figure 5.2 is
particularly good. However, a few of the
others are not as clear and informative as
one would have liked, for example on
page 36 (structural assignment not given),
page 42 (the carbanion structure shown is
confusing), page 55 (the dihedral angle is
not defined), page 56 (badly printed),
page 116 (Fig. 7.6) and page 133 (no scale
divisions on the axis), and page 146 (the
structure of amylopectin is much more
complex, and an oxygen atom at the 4-POsition is missing).
After these ten pages of introduction
the reader has still not yet seen any part of
a paper machine, nor been given much
information about them. It is not until
S 15.00t.Z5/0
0570-0833/97~360S-0534
‘,
Angrw Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1997, 36, No. 5
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