Application and progress of di(dodecylthio)dioctyltin catalysts in polymerisation reactions

Catalysts play a crucial role in the rapid development of modern polymer chemistry and materials science, especially in polymerisation reactions, where they can significantly affect the structure, properties and productivity of the products. Di(dodecylthio)dioctyltin, abbreviated as DODST (Di(octyldecyl)dithiostannate), as a highly efficient organotin catalyst, has demonstrated a wide range of potentials and applications in the field of polymer synthesis due to its unique structural features and excellent catalytic properties. In this paper, the application of DODST catalysts in different polymerisation reactions will be discussed in depth, as well as the research progress in this field in recent years.

Catalytic mechanism and properties
The core of DODST catalyst lies in the dodecyl sulfur group in its structure. These two long-chain thiol groups not only provide good hydrophobicity, but also enhance the interaction with the reaction substrate, thus promoting the polymerisation reaction. During the polymerisation process, DODST stabilises the polymer chain growth through coordination with the active centre, reducing chain transfer and termination reactions, which in turn increases the molecular weight and degree of polymerisation of the product. In addition, its octyl chain segments confer good solubility and dispersibility, making the catalyst more flexible for application in various solvent systems and polymerisation conditions.

Polymerisation Applications
1. Polyolefin synthesis
In polyolefin synthesis, DODST, as a component of Ziegler-Natta type catalysts, shows highly efficient catalytic activity for the polymerisation of propylene, ethylene and their copolymer monomers. It can effectively control the structural regularity of polymers, especially for the production of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), DODST catalysts can significantly improve the crystallinity and mechanical strength of the products, as well as to reduce the catalyst residue, and improve the purity of the products.

2. Thermoplastic Elastomer Synthesis
In the synthesis of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), DODST promotes the formation of block copolymers or graft copolymers with its unique catalytic properties. For example, in the preparation of styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) or polyurethane (TPU), DODST is able to precisely regulate the growth of the polymerisation chain and ensure the orderly arrangement of the soft and hard segments, thus optimising the elasticity and processing properties of TPEs.

3. Functional polymer synthesis
In the synthesis of polymers with special functional groups, DODST catalysts are favoured for their mild reaction conditions and good compatibility with functional groups. For example, in the preparation of fluoropolymers, photosensitive polymers or biodegradable polymers, DODST is able to facilitate the introduction of specific functional groups for specific applications, such as the development of optical, medical or environmentally friendly materials.

Research Progress and Challenges
In recent years, research on DODST catalysts has deepened in response to increasing environmental requirements and growing demand for high-performance materials. On the one hand, researchers are working to develop greener, less toxic variants of DODST catalysts to reduce the potential impact on the environment while maintaining or enhancing catalytic efficiency. On the other hand, improving the selectivity and recycling of catalysts through molecular design and surface modification techniques is a hot topic of current research.

As a class of high-performance organotin catalysts, di(dodecylthio)dioctyltin exhibits a wide range of applications and significant technical advantages in polymerisation reactions. It not only promotes the progress of polymer material synthesis technology, but also provides strong support for the development of new materials. In the face of future challenges, the continuous optimisation of catalyst performance, the development of environmentally friendly catalysts and the exploration of their applications in emerging fields will be the key directions of research. With the advancement of science and technology and the diversification of market demands, the application scope and efficacy of DODST catalysts are expected to be further expanded, contributing to the sustainable development of polymer materials science.

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