Polybutene-1 is a thermoplastic polyolefin produced through the polymerization of butene-1 using stereospecific catalysts to create a linear, highly isotactic and semi-crystalline polymer.
Key building blocks for diverse applications
LyondellBasell manufactures products and develops technologies that improve the quality of life for people around the world. The company's products are the basic building blocks used to manufacture countless everyday goods such as personal care products, fresh food packaging, lightweight plastics, high-strength construction materials, automotive components, biofuels, durable textiles, medical applications and many others.
With the help of LyondellBasell materials, thousands of products are made safer, stronger, more affordable and more reliable.
Experience and long-term commitment
The pioneering work of Karl Ziegler and Giulio Natta continues to shape and improve our lives. While working with LyondellBasell predecessor companies, these two fathers of modern polyolefins changed the world with their discoveries. They were recognized with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1969. At LyondellBasell, their legacy of innovation lives on.
Polybutene-1 (PB-1), for example, was discovered in 1954 by the research team of Professor Natta. It is a thermoplastic polyolefin similar to polyethylene and polypropylene produced through the polymerization of butene-1 using stereospecific catalysts to create a linear, highly isotactic and semi-crystalline polymer.
R&D innovations in Polybutene-1 process technology is further expanding flexibility, processing and mechanical performance.
The first industrial production and introduction into flexible pressure piping systems started in Europe in the mid 1960’s. Since its introduction, LyondellBasell has introduced countless new and innovative PB-1 grades in many popular applications.
LyondellBasell is a technology-driven company powered by innovative thinkers and has been at the forefront of every major development in polyolefins since its inception – including Polybutene-1.
Polybutene-1: A High Performance Material
As a leading supplier of advanced polyolefins, LyondellBasell offers a wide range of versatile polyolefins selected by customers as building blocks in compounding and polymer property modification. Through research and development, LyondellBasell continuously discovers new opportunities to replace other polymers and traditional materials by introducing innovative properties and performance characteristics.
Pipe systems made from Polybutene-1 have become a vital part of modern architecture and building technology. Polybutene-1 can be processed with conventional manufacturing equipment and exhibits superior thermal and mechanical properties that make it highly suitable in end-use applications that require high strength and flexibility over a broad temperature range.
Excellent creep resistance combined with low stiffness makes Polybutene-1 the technically preferred material for hot and cold water pipes. Additionally, the properties of Polybutene-1 can be tailored by copolymerisation with PE or PP to create random copolymers used in special applications in underfloor heating and inner layers of pressure tanks.
- Left: The difference between PP (top) and PB-1 is one additional methyl group/monomer unit.
- Right: LyondellBasell Polybutene-1 Plant – Moerdijk, The Netherlands.
Akoalit and Akoafloor PB-1 resins
Akoalit and Akoafloor resins represent a new generation of PB-1 resins used in sanitary and heating applications. Akoalit resins address stringent organoleptic and potable water requirements, whereas Akoafloor resins offer enhanced flexibility and improved processability compared to standard products. The resins are produced in the world’s largest dedicated PB-1 plant in Moerdijk, The Netherlands, through the polymerization of 1-butene with a stereospecific catalyst that creates a linear, highly isotactic and semicrystalline polymer.
Applications for PB-1 piping systems include:
- Hot and cold water supply systems
- District energy lines
- Radiator connections
- Underfloor heating
- Chilled ceilings and surfaces
- Pressurized plastic tanks
- Sprinkler systems