TOPAS® cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) employs the key monomer norbornene. This monomer is made at polymerization purity quality at the TOPAS Advanced Polymers’ facility in Oberhausen, Germany, and is now being made available on the merchant market from this secure and reliable source.
Norbornene is a bicyclic olefin. It is a bridged six-membered ring with a double bond on one side. The bridged ring puts extra strain on the double bond, making it highly reactive.Therefore, many opportunities are given to modify the basic norbornene molecule or to incorporate it into bigger molecules, such as COC or other polymers. The processes used may include ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), radical or cationic polymerization, and vinyl or addition polymerization.
Norbornene is made by the Diels-Alder reaction of cyclopentadiene and ethylene, two commonly available hydrocarbons. It is a colorless substance with a melting point of 47 °C (115 °F), and is soluble in many common solvents. As well as being a building block for TOPAS COC, it has numerous other applications including pharmaceutical intermediates, pesticide compounds, specialty fragrances and high-damping rubber. It has various uses in general organic synthesis, and because of its combination of strong odor and low toxicity, it is also used as an odorant.
As the largest capacity supplier of this useful intermediate chemical, TOPAS Advanced Polymers Oberhausen plant has an annual capacity of about 21,000 tons/year of high purity norbornene, assuring availability of a consistent quality supply at acceptable conditions.