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1. (WO2018140627) PEROXIDE-MODIFIED POLYETHYLENE, COMPOSITIONS, AND APPLICATIONS
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PEROXIDE-MODIFIED POLYETHYLENE, COMPOSITIONS, AND APPLICATIONS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which claims benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/451,652, filed January 27, 2017, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In general, the present disclosure relates to the field of chemistry. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to polymer chemistry. In particular, the present disclosure relates to peroxide-modified polyethylene, related compositions, and wire-and-cable products made therefrom.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Ziegler-Natta (Z-N) catalyst systems can be used to produce linear low density' polyethylene (LLDPE), medium density polyethylene (MDPE), and high density polyethylene (HDPE) resins having excellent solid state properties. However, the Z-N-catalyzed polymers have shown limited usefulness for wire-and-cable applications because the polymers can have poor extrusion performance.

[0004] On the other hand, chromium-catalyzed LLDPE, MDPE, and HDPE have proved useful in wire-and-cable applications. Those products have demonstrated both excellent extrusion capability and retention of acceptable solid state properties. However, the chromium-catalyzed products show slower reactor production rates than the Z-N-catalyzed counterparts, adversely affecting the cost of making these polymers.

[0005] Because Z-N catalyzed polymers have production cost advantages over chromium-catalyzed polymers, it is desirable to produce Z-N catalyzed polymers that retain their excellent solid state properties while demonstrating extrusion capability similar to that of chromium-catalyzed polymers. It is further desirable that the Z-N catalyzed polymers provide extrudate surfaces, melt strength, toughness, environmental stress crack resistance, and heat deformation similar to or better than those properties of chromium-catalyzed polymers.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a peroxide-modified polyethylene including the steps of:

(A) preparing a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a first reactor;

(B) transferring the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the first reactor to a second reactor;

(C) admixing a first amount of an organic peroxide to the second reactor;

(D) reacting the organic peroxide with a polyethylene composition made from or containing the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, thereby coupling the polyethylene components and forming the peroxide-modified polyethylene; and

(E) collecting the peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0007] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a peroxide-modified polyethylene including the steps of:

(A) preparing a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a first reactor;

(B) preparing a high density polyethylene in a second reactor;

(C) transferring the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the first reactor to a third reactor;

(D) transferring the high density polyethylene from the second reactor to the third reactor;

(E) admixing a first amount of an organic peroxide to the third reactor;

(F) reacting the organic peroxide with a polyethylene composition made from or containing the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene and the high density polyethylene, thereby coupling the polyethylene components and forming the peroxide-modified polyethylene; and

(G) collecting the peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0008] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a peroxide-modified polyethylene including the steps of:

(A) preparing a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a first reactor, having a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 5.5 g/lOmin to about 7.5 g/10 min;

(B) preparing a second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a second reactor, having a melt index in the range of about 0.5 g/10 min to about 3.0 g/lO min;

(C) transferring the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the first reactor to a third reactor;

(D) transferring the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the second reactor to the third reactor;

(E) admixing a first amount of an organic peroxide to the third reactor;

(F) reacting the organic peroxide with a polyethylene composition made from or containing the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene and the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, thereby coupling the polyethylene components and forming a peroxide-modified polyethylene; and

(E) collecting the peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0009] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a wire-and-cable composition made from or containing a peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0010] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a thermoplastic wire-and-cable article of manufacture made from or containing a peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0011] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a moisture-curable, silane-grafted wire-and-cable composition including the step of:

(A) grafting silane onto a peroxide-modified polyethylene, thereby forming a moisture-curable, silane-grafted wire-and-cable composition.

[0012] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a moisture-cured wire-and-cable article of manufacture made from or containing a silane-grafted, peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0013] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0014] While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description. As will be apparent, certain embodiments, as disclosed herein, are capable of modifications in various obvious aspects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the claims as presented herein. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The following figures illustrate preferred embodiments of the subject matter disclosed herein. The claimed subject matter may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, in which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:

[0016] FIG. 1 shows gel permeation chromatographs for (a) a comparative chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, (b) a Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, and (c) a peroxide-modified, Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene.

[0017] FIG. 2 show graphs of head pressure measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and screw speed measured in revolutions per minute (RPM) for (a) a comparative chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, (b) a polyethylene composition made from or containing 80 weight percent of a Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene and 20 weight percent of a comparative chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition, and (c) a peroxide-modified, Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene.

[0018] FIG. 3 shows a peroxide curing profile for (a) a comparative chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene without peroxide, (b) a comparative chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene with 1000 ppm peroxide, and (c) a peroxide-modified, Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene with 1000 ppm peroxide.

[0019] FIG. 4 shows gel permeation chromatographs for (a) a comparative chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene and (b) a peroxide-modified polyethylene prepared from a polyethylene composition made from or containing 20 weight percent of a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, having a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 5.5 g/lOmin to about 7.5 g/10 min, and 80 weight percent of a second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, having a melt index in the range of about 0.5 g/10 min to about 3.0 g/10 min, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter. However, this invention can be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. As such, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the embodiments can incorporate changes and modifications without departing from the general scope. It is intended to include all the modifications and alterations in so far as the modifications and alterations come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.

[0021] As used in this specification and the claims, the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

[0022] As used in this specification and the claims, the terms "comprising," "containing," or "including" mean that at least the named compound, element, material, particle, or method step, etc., is present in the composition, the article, or the method, but does not exclude the presence of other compounds, elements, materials, particles, or method steps, etc., even if the other such compounds, elements, materials, particles, or method steps, etc., have the same function as that which is named, unless expressly excluded in the claims. It is also to be understood that the mention of one or more method steps does not preclude the presence of additional method steps before or after the combined recited steps or intervening method steps between those steps expressly identified.

[0023] Moreover, it is also to be understood that the lettering of process steps or ingredients is a means for identifying discrete activities or ingredients and the recited lettering can be arranged in any sequence, unless expressly indicated.

[0024] For the purpose of the present description and of the claims which follow, except where otherwise indicated, numbers expressing amounts, quantities, percentages, and so forth, are to be understood as being modified by the term "about". Also, ranges include any combination of the maximum and minimum points disclosed and include any intermediate ranges therein, which may or may not be specifically enumerated herein.

[0025] Definitions

[0026] In the present description, the term "chromium catalyst" can refer to Cr UCAT-B.

[0027] In the present description, the terms "chromium-catalyzed polymer" mean any polymer that is made in the presence of a chromium catalyst.

[0028] In the present description, the term "first" refers to the order in which a particular species is presented and does not necessarily indicate that a "second" species will be presented. For example, "first polymer composition" refers to the first of at least one polymer composition.

The term does not reflect priority, importance, or significance in any other way. Similar terms used that can be used herein include "second," "third," "fourth," etc.

[0029] In the present description, the term "high density polyethylene" refers to ethylene based polymers having a density of from about 0.94 g/cc to about 0.97 g/cc.

[0030] In the present description, the term "low density polyethylene" refers to ethylene based polymers having a density in a range of 0.88 g/cc to 0.925 g/cc. In the present description, the term "linear low density' polyethylene" refers to substantially linear low density polyethylene characterized by the absence of long chain branching.

[0031] In the present description, the term "medium density polyethylene" refers to ethylene based polymers having a density of from 0.92 g/cc to 0.94 g/cc.

[0032] In the present description, the terms "monomer" and "comonomer" are used interchangeably. The terms mean any compound with a polymerizable moiety that is added to a reactor in order to produce a polymer. In those instances in which a polymer is described as comprising one or more monomers, e.g., a polymer comprising propylene and ethylene, the polymer, of course, comprises units derived from the monomers, and not the

monomer itself, e.g.,

[0033] In the present description, the term "polymer" means a macromolecular compound prepared by polymerizing monomers of the same or different type. The term "polymer" includes homopolymers, copolymers, terpolymers, interpolymers, and so on.

[0034] In the present description, the term "polymer composition" refers to a composition made from or containing at least one polymer.

[0035] In the present description, the term "thermoplastic polymer" means a polymer that softens and eventually melts when exposed to heat and returns to its original condition when cooled to room temperature.

[0036] In the present description, the term "thermoset polymer" means a polymer that may softens but will not melt when exposed to heat. If continually heated, the polymer will degrade.

[0037] In the present description, the term "Ziegler-Natta catalyst" can refer to (i) UCAT- A, (ii) UCAT-J, or (iii) a catalyst including MRx, wherein M is a transition metal, R is a halogen, an alkoxy, or a hydrocarboxyl group and x is the valence of the transition metal.

[0038] In the present description, the terms "Ziegler-Naita-catalyzed polymer" and "Z-N-catalyzed polymer" mean any polymer that is made in the presence of a Ziegler-Natta catalyst.

[0039] Testing

[0040] ASTM D 638 is entitled "Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Plastics."

The term "ASTM D 638" as used herein refers to the test method designed to produce tensile property data for the control and specification of plastic materials. This test method covers the determination of the tensile properties of unreinforced and reinforced plastics in the form of standard dumbbell-shaped test specimens when tested under defined conditions of pretreatment, temperature, humidity, and testing machine speed. This test method can be used for testing materials of any thickness up to 14 mm (0.5S in.). This test method was approved in 2010, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0041] ASTM D 648 is entitled "Standard Test Method for Deflection Temperature of

Plastics under Flexural Load in the Edgewise Position." The term "ASTM D 648" as used herein refers to the test method determination of the temperature at which an arbitrary deformation occurs when specimens are subjected to an arbitrary set of testing conditions. This test method applies to molded and sheet materials available in thicknesses of 3 mm [1/8 in.] or greater and which are rigid or semirigid at normal temperature. This test method was approved in 2007, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0042] ASTM D 790 is entitled "Standard Test Methods for Flexural Properties of

Unreinforced and Reinforced Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials." The term "ASTM D 790" as used herein refers to the determination of flexural properties by these test methods for quality control and specification purposes. Materials that do not tail by the maximum strain allowed under these test methods (3 -point bend) can be more suited to a 4-point bend test. The basic difference between the two test methods is in the location of the maximum bending moment and maximum axial fiber stresses. The maximum axial fiber stresses occur on a line under the loading nose in 3 -point bending and over the area between the loading noses in 4-point bending. This test method was approved on April 1, 2010 and published April 2010, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0043] ASTM D 792 is entitled 'Test Methods for Density and Specific Gravity (Relative

Density) of Plastics by Displacement." The term "ASTM D 792" as used herein refers to the standard test method for determining the specific gravity (relative density) and density of solid plastics in forms such as sheets, rods, tubes, or molded items. The test method includes

determining the mass of a specimen of the solid plastic in air, determining the apparent mass of the specimen upon immersion in a liquid, and calculating the specimen's specific gravity (relative density). This test method was approved on June IS, 2008 and published July 2008, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0044] ASTM D 1238 is entitled 'Test Method for Melt Flow Rates of Thermoplastics by

Extrusion Plastometer." The term "ASTM D 1238" as used herein refers to atest method covering the determination of the rate of extrusion of molten thermoplastic resins using an extrusion plastometer. After a specified preheating time, resin is extruded through a die with a specified length and orifice diameter under prescribed conditions of temperature, load, and piston position in the barrel. This test method was approved on February 1, 2012 and published March 2012, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0045] Throughout the present description and claims, the standard melt index values of polyethylene polymers are measured according to ASTM D 1238, using a piston load of 2.16 kg and at a temperature of 190 degrees Celsius. The High Load Melt Index (or HLMI) values are also measured according to ASTM D 1238, but using a piston load of 21.6 kg and at a temperature of 190 degrees Celsius.

[0046] ASTM D 1248 is entitled "Specifications for Polyethylene Materials for Wire and

Cable." The term "ASTM D 1248" as used herein refers to the standard for identification of polyethylene plastics extrusion materials for wire and cable. Identification primarily focuses on two basic characteristics, density and flow rate. The ASTM D 1248 standard refers the reader to multiple ASTM standards for cell type classification. These test standards cover equipment requirements, sample preparation and methods for determination of various properties required for wire and cable compounds. This test method was published April 1, 2012, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0047] ASTM D 1505 is entitled "Standard Test Method for Density of Plastics by the

Density-Gradient Technique." The term "ASTM D 1505" as used herein refers to a test method based on observing the level to which a test specimen sinks in a liquid column exhibiting a density gradient, in comparison with standards of known density. This test method was approved on July 1, 2010 and published September 2010, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0048] ASTM D 1693 is entitled "Standard Test Environmental Stress-Cracking of

Ethylene Plastics." The term "ASTM D 1693" as used herein refers to a test method that covers the determination of the susceptibility of ethylene plastics to environmental stress-cracking when subjected to certain conditions. Notably, under certain conditions of stress and in the presence of environments such as soaps, wetting agents, oils, or detergents, ethylene plastics may exhibit mechanical failure by cracking. This test method was published May 2015, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0049] ASTM D 1822 is entitled "Standard Test Method for Tensile-Impact Energy to

Break Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials." The term "ASTM D 1822" as used herein refers to the test method covers the determination of the energy required to rupture standard tension-impact specimens of plastic or electrical insulating materials. Rigid materials are suitable for testing by this method as well as specimens that are too flexible or thin to be tested in accordance with other impact test methods. This test method was published in 2013, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirely.

[0050] For the referenced
standards, visit the website, www.astm.org, or

contact ASTM Customer Service at service@astm.org.

[0051] "Molecular Weight Distribution is measured by gel permeation

chromatography. and the ratio Mw/Mn are determined using a Waters 150-C ALC/Gel

Permeation Chromatography (GPC) system equipped with a TSK column set (type GMHXL-HT) working at 135 degrees Celsius with 1,2-dichlorobenzene as solvent (ODCB) (stabilized with 0.1 volume of 2,6-di-t-butyl p-cresole (BHT)) at flow rate of 1 ml/min. The sample is dissolved in ODCB by stirring continuously at a temperature of 140 degrees Celsius for 1 hour. The solution is filtered through a 0.45 um Teflon membrane. The filtrate (concentration 0.08-1.2 g/1 injection volume 300 μΐ) is subjected to GPC. Monodisperse fractions of polystyrene (provided by Polymer Laboratories) are used as standard.

[0052] In general embodiments, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a peroxide-modified polyethylene including the steps of:

(A) preparing a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a first reactor, having a molecular weight distribution;

(B) transferring the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the first reactor to a second reactor;

(C) admixing a first amount of an organic peroxide to the second reactor;

(D) reacting the organic peroxide with a polyethylene composition made from or containing the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, thereby

modifying the molecular weight distribution of the polyethylene components and forming the peroxide-modified polyethylene; and (E) collecting the peroxide-modified catalyzed polyethylene .

[0053] In some embodiments, Ziegler-Natta catalyst systems are formed from the combination of a metal component with one or more additional components, such as a catalyst support, a co-catalyst and/or one or more electron donors. In some embodiments, the metal component is an active catalyst site.

[0054] In some embodiments, a Ziegler-Natta catalyst includes a metal component represented by the formula:


wherein M is a transition metal, R is a halogen, an alkoxy, or a hydrocarboxyl group and x is the valence of the transition metal. In some embodiments, x is from 1 to 4.

[0055] In some embodiments, the transition metal is selected from Groups IV through VIB .

In some embodiments, the transition metal is selected from the group consisting of titanium, chromium ,and vanadium.

[0056] In some embodiments, R is selected from the group consisting of chlorine, bromine, carbonate, ester, and an alkoxy group.

[0057] In some embodiments, the catalyst components include TiCU, Tiffa,

[0058] In some embodiments, the catalyst is "activated". In some embodiments, activation is accomplished by contacting the catalyst with an activator, which is also referred to in some instances as a "co-catalyst". In some embodiments, Z-N activators include organoaluminum compounds, such as trimethyl aluminum (TMA), triethyl aluminum (TEA1) and triisobutyl aluminum (TiBAl).

[0059] In some embodiments, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst system includes one or more electron donors, such as internal electron donors and/or external electron donors. In some embodiments, internal electron donors are selected from the group consisting of amines, amides, esters, ketones, nitriles, ethers, thioethers, thioesters, aldehydes, alcoholates, salts, organic acids, phosphines, diethers, succinates, phthalates, malonates, maleic acid derivatives, dialkoxybenzenes, and combinations thereof.

[0060] In some embodiments, the internal donor includes a CVCe cyclic ether. In some embodiments, the internal donor includes a C3-C3 cyclic ether. In some embodiments, the cyclic ethers is selected from the group consisting of tetrahydrofurane, dioxane, methyltetrahydrofurane and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, internal donors are as disclosed in Patent Cooperation Treaty Publication No. WO2012/025379, which is incorporated by reference herein.

[0061] In some embodiments, the external electron donors are selected from the group consisting of monofunctional or polyfunctional carboxylic acids, carboxylic anhydrides, carboxylic esters, ketones, ethers, alcohols, lactones, organophosphorus compounds, and organosilicon compounds. In some embodiments, the external donor is selected from the group consisting of diphenyldimethoxysilane (DPMS), cyclohexylmemyldimethoxysilane (CMDS), diisopropyldimethoxysilane (DIDS), and dicyclopentyldimethoxysilane (CPDS). In some embodiments, the external donor is the same as or different from the internal electron donor used. In some embodiments, the catalyst system is free of an external donor.

[0062] In some embodiments, the components of the Ziegler-Natta catalyst system are associated with a support, either in combination with each other or separate from one another. In some embodiments, the components of the Ziegler-Natta catalyst system are not associated with a support. In some embodiments, the Z-N support materials includes a magnesium dihalide or silica. In some embodiments, the magnesium dihalide is magnesium dichloride or magnesium dibromide.

[0063] In some embodiments, the support includes a magnesium compound represented by the formula:


wherein R" is a C1-C10 alkyl and m is in a range of 0.5 to 3.

[0064] In some embodiments, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst system exhibits a molar ratio of support to metal component (measured as the amount of metal of each component) Mg:Ti of greater than about 5:1, alternatively in a range of about 7: 1 to about 50: 1, alternatively in a range of about 10: 1 to about 25: 1.

[0065] In some embodiments, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst system exhibits a molar ratio of support to internal donor Mg:ID of less than about 3:1, alternatively less than about 2.9:1, alternatively less than about 2.6: 1, alternatively less than about 2.1: 1, alternatively less than about 2: 1, alternatively from about 1.1 : 1 to about 1.4: 1.

[0066] In some embodiments, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst system exhibits an X-ray diffraction spectrum in which the range of 2Θ diffraction angles between 5.0° and 20.0°, at least three main diffraction peaks are present at diffraction angles 2Θ of about 7.2 ± 0.2°, about 11.5 ± 0.2°, and about 14.5 ± 0.2°, the peak at 2Θ of about 7.2 ± 0.2° being the most intense peak and the peak at about 11.5 ± 0.2° having an intensity less than about 0.9 times the intensity of the most intense peak.

[0067] In some embodiments, the intensity of the peak at 11.5° has an intensity less than about 0.8 times the intensity of the diffraction peak at 2Θ diffraction angles of about 7.2 ± 0.2°. In some embodiments, the intensity of the peak at about 14.5 ± 0.2° is less than about 0.5 times, alternatively less than about 0.4 times the intensity of the diffraction peak at 2Θ diffraction angles of about 7.2 ± 0.2°.

[0068] In some embodiments, another diffraction peak is present at diffraction angles 2Θ of about 8.2 ± 0.2° having an intensity equal to or lower than the intensity of the diffraction peak at 2Θ diffraction angles of about 7.2 ± 0.2°. In some embodiments, the intensity of the peak at diffraction angles 2Θ of about 8.2 ± 0.2° is less than about 0.9, alternatively less than about 0.5 times the intensity of the diffraction peak at 2Θ diffraction angles of about 7.2 ± 0.2°.

[0069] In some embodiments, an additional broad peak is observed at diffraction angles

2Θ of about 18.2 ± 0.2° having an intensity less man about 0.5 times the intensity of the diffraction peak at 2Θ diffraction angles of about 7.2 ± 0.2°. As referenced herein, the X-ray diffraction spectra are collected by using Bruker D8 advance powder diffractometer or a comparable apparatus.

[0070] The Ziegler-Natta catalyst may be formed by many methods. In some embodiments, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst is formed by contacting a transition metal halide with a metal alkyl or metal hydride. In some embodiments, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst is prepared as described in at least one of U.S. Patent Nos. 4,298,718; 4,298,718; 4,544,717; 4,767,735; and 4,544,717, which are incorporated by reference herein.

[0071] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is a linear low density polyethylene, a medium density polyethylene, or a high density' polyethylene.

[0072] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is a linear low density polyethylene, having a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 5.5 g/10 min to about 7.5 g/10 min, a density (ASTM D 1505) in the range of about 0.88 g/cc to about 0.925 g/cc, a tensile strength (ASTM D 638) in the range of about 1400 psi to about 2,000 psi, and an

elongation at break (ASTM D 638) in the range of about 750% to about 1000%. In some embodiments, the melt index of the linear low density polyethylene is 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 g/10 min, or an intermediate melt index. In some embodiments, the density is 0.88, 0.89, 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.925 g/cc, or an intermediate density. In some embodiments, the tensile strength is 1400, 1450, 1500, 1550, 1600, 1650, 1700, 1750, 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950, 2,000 psi, or an intermediate tensile strength. In some embodiments, the elongation at break is 750, 800, 850, 900, 950, 1000%, or an intermediate elongation at break.

[0073] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene has a first molecular weight distribution, the peroxide-modified polyethylene has a second molecular weight distribution, and the first molecular weight distribution and the second molecular weight distribution are dissimilar.

[0074] In some embodiments, the organic peroxide is added in a first amount less than about 2000 ppm. In other embodiments, the organic peroxide is added in a first amount less than about 1500 ppm. In yet other embodiments, the organic peroxide is added in an amount in the range of about 100 ppm to about 700 ppm. In further embodiments, the organic peroxide is added in a first amount of about 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 ppm, or an intermediate amount.

[0075] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a peroxide-modified polyethylene including the steps of:

(A) preparing a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a first reactor;

(B) preparing a high density polyethylene in a second reactor;

(C) transferring the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the first reactor to a third reactor;

(D) transferring the high density polyethylene from the second reactor to the third reactor;

(E) admixing a first amount of an organic peroxide to the third reactor;

(F) reacting the organic peroxide with a polyethylene composition made from or containing the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene and the high density polyethylene, thereby coupling the polyethylene components and forming the peroxide-modified polyethylene; and

(G) collecting the peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0076] Alternatively and for consistency with the general embodiment, this embodiment can be described as the general embodiment further including the steps of:

(A2) preparing a high density polyethylene in a third reactor;

(B2) transferring the high density polyethylene from the third reactor to the second reactor,

wherein the polyethylene composition is made from or further contains the high density polyethylene.

[0077] In some embodiments, the high density polyethylene has a melt index (ASTM D

1238) in the range of about 0.1 g/10 min to about 1.5 g/10 min, a density (ASTM D 1505) in the range of about 0.94 g/cc to about 0.97 g/cc, an ESCR, 100 % Igepal (ASTM D 1693) of 0 failures in 7 days, a tensile strength (ASTM D 638) in the range of about 2,500 psi to about 3,500 psi, and an elongation at break (ASTM D 638) in the range of about 600% to about 1000%. In some embodiments, the melt index is about 0.5 g/lOmin to about 1.0 g/lOmin, alternatively 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1.0 g/lOmin, or an intermediate melt index. In some embodiments, the density is 0.940, 0.945, 0.950, 0.955, 0.960, 0.965, 0.970 g/cc, or an intermediate density. In some embodiments, the ESCR is 0 failures in 15 days, alternatively 0 failures in 30 days, alternatively 0 failures in 40 days. In some embodiments, the tensile strength is in the range of about 3,000 psi to about 3,500 psi, alternatively, 3,000, 3,100, 3,200, 3,300, 3,400, 3,500 psi, or an intermediate tensile strength. In some embodiments, the elongation at break is 600, 650, 700, 750, 800, 850, 900, 950, 1000%, or an intermediate elongation at break.

[0078] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene has a first molecular weight distribution, the high density polyethylene has a second molecular weight distribution, the peroxide-modified polyethylene has a third molecular weight distribution, and the third molecular weight distribution differs from either the first molecular weight distribution or the second molecular weight distribution.

[0079] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is added to the third reactor in an amount from about 60 weight percent to about 95 weight percent, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition, and the high density polyethylene is added in an amount from about 5 weight percent to about 40 weight percent, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition. In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is added in amount from about 75 weight percent to about 90 weight percent, alternatively 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 wt%, or an intermediate weight percent. In some embodiments, the high density polyethylene is added in an amount from about 15 weight percent to about 25 weight percent, alternatively 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 wt%, or an intermediate weight percent.

[0080] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a peroxide-modified polyethylene including the steps of:

(A) preparing a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a first reactor, having a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 5.5 g/lOmin to about 7.5 g/10 min and ;

(B) preparing a second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a second reactor, having a melt index in the range of about 0.5 g/10 min to about 3.0 g/10 min;

(C) transferring the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the first reactor to a third reactor;

(D) transferring the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the second reactor to the third reactor;

(E) admixing a first amount of an organic peroxide to the third reactor;

(F) reacting the organic peroxide with a polyethylene composition made from or containing the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene and the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, thereby coupling the polyethylene components and forming a peroxide-modified polyethylene; and

(E) collecting the peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0081] Alternatively and for consistency with the general embodiment, this embodiment can be described as the general embodiment further including the steps of:

(A2) preparing a second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene in a third reactor;

(B2) transferring the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene from the third reactor to the second reactor,

wherein

(i) the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene has a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 5.5 g/lOmin to about 7.5 g/10 min;

(ii) the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene has a melt index in the range of about 0.5 g/10 min to about 3.0 g/10 min; and

(iii) the polyethylene composition is made from or further contains the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene.

[0082] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is a linear low density polyethylene, having a density (ASTM D 1505) in the range of about 0.88 g/cc to about 0.925 g/cc, a tensile strength (ASTM D 638) in the range of about 1400 psi to about 2,000 psi, and an elongation at break (ASTM D 638) in the range of about 750% to about 1000%. In some

embodiments, the melt index of the linear low density polyethylene is 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 g/10 min, or an intermediate melt index. In some embodiments, the density is 0.88, 0.89, 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.925 g/cc, or an intermediate density. In some embodiments, the tensile strength is 1400, 1450, 1500, 1550, 1600, 1650, 1700, 1750, 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950, 2,000 psi, or an intermediate tensile strength. In some embodiments, the elongation at break is 750, 800, 850, 900, 950, 1000%, or an intermediate elongation at break.

[0083] In some embodiments, the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is a linear low density polyethylene, having a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 1.5 g/10 min to about 2.5 g/10 min and a density (ASTM D 1505) in the range of about 0.88 g/cc to about 0.925 g/cc. In some embodiments, the melt index of the linear low density polyethylene is 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, or 2.5 g/10 min, or an intermediate melt index. In some embodiments, the density is 0.88, 0.89, 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.925 g/cc, or an intermediate density.

[0084] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene has a first molecular weight distribution, the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene has a second molecular weight distribution, the peroxide-modified polyethylene has a third molecular weight distribution, and the third molecular weight distribution differs from either the first molecular weight distribution or the second molecular weight distribution. In some embodiments, the peroxide-modified polyethylene has a molecular weight distribution of at least two modes.

[0085] In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is added to the third reactor in an amount from about 5 weight percent to about 30 weight percent, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition, and the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is added in an amount from about 70 weight percent to about 95 weight percent, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition. In some embodiments, the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is added in amount from about 10 weight percent to about 20 weight percent, alternatively 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 wt%, or an intermediate weight percent. In some embodiments, the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene is added in an amount from about 80 weight percent to about 90 weight percent, alternatively 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 wt%, or an intermediate weight percent.

[0086] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a process for preparing a moisture-curable, silane-grafted wire-and-cable composition including the steps of:

(A) grafting silane onto the peroxide-modified polyethylene, thereby forming a moisture-curable, silane-grafted wire-and-cable composition.

[0087] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a wire-and-cable composition made from or containing a peroxide-modified polyethylene. In some embodiments, the wire-and-cable composition is a thermoplastic composition. In some embodiments, the wire-and-cable composition is a moisture-curable, silane-grafted composition.

[0088] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a thermoplastic wire-and-cable article of manufacture made from or containing a peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0089] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a moisture-cured wire-and-cable article of manufacture made from or containing a silane-grafted, peroxide-modified polyethylene. Alternatively, the article of manufacture is described as a thermoset.

[0090] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a wire-and-cable insulation layer or a wire-and-cable jacket layer.

[0091] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides an article of manufacture that has a smooth extrudate surface.

[0092] In a general embodiment, the present disclosure provides a peroxide-modified polyethylene composition made from or containing a peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0093] In some embodiments, the peroxide-modified polyethylene composition is further made from or containing an additives composition. In some embodiments, the additives are selected from the group consisting of colorants, odorants, deodorants, plasticizers, impact modifiers, fillers, nucleating agents, lubricants, surfactants, wetting agents, flame retardants, ultraviolet light stabilizers, antioxidants, biocides, metal deactivating agents, thickening agents, heat stabilizers, defoaming agents, other coupling agents, polymer alloy compatibilizing agent, blowing agents, emulsifiers, crosslinking agents, waxes, particulates, flow promoters, and other materials added to enhance processability or end-use properties of the polymeric components.

EXAMPLES

[0094] The following examples are included to demonstrate embodiments. It should be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the techniques disclosed in the examples which follow represent techniques discovered to function well, and thus can be considered to constitute exemplary modes of practice. However, those of skill in the art should, in light of the present disclosure, appreciate that many changes can be made in the specific embodiments which are

disclosed and still obtain a like or similar result without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure.

[0095] FIG. 1 shows that following peroxide modification, the Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene achieved a molecular weight distribution more similar to the chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene.

[0096] Comparative Example 1 is a chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, having a melt index of 0.75 g/10 min and a density of 0.920 g/cc. Comparative Example 2 is a Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, having a melt index of 2.0 g/10 min and a density of 0.918 g/cc. Example 3 is a peroxide-modified Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polythylene, having a melt index of 0.96 g/10 min.

[0097] FIG. 2 shows that following peroxide modification, the Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene achieved a screw speed comparable to the chromium-catalyzed polyethylene while demonstrating a lower head pressure.

[0098] Comparative Example 4 is a polyethylene blend made from or containing about 80 weight percent of a Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polyethylene, having a melt index of 2.0 g/10 min and a density of 0.917 g/cc, and about 20 weight percent of a chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene having a melt index of 0.75 g/10 min and a density of 0.920 g/cc, both weight percents based upon the total weight of the polyethylene blend.

[0099] FIG. 3 shows that the peroxide-modified Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polythylene achieves a cure profile at a lower viscosity over the entire temperature range similar to that a comparable chromium-catalyzed polyethylene.

[0100] Example 5 is the peroxide-modified Ziegler-Natta catalyzed linear low density polythylene with an additional 1000 ppm of an organic peroxide. Comparative Example 6 is a chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene with 1000 ppm of an organic peroxide.

[0101] FIG. 4 shows that following peroxide modification, a polyethylene composition made from or containing 20 weight percent of a first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, having a melt index (ASTM D 1238) in the range of about 5.5 g/lOmin to about 7.5 g/10 min, and 80 weight percent of a second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, having a melt index in the range of about 0.5 g/10 min to about 3.0 g/10 min, based upon the total weight of the polyethylene composition achieved a molecular weight distribution similar to the chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene.

[0102] Example 6 is the peroxide-modified polyethylene.

[0103] For Examples 7 - 10, various compounds were formulated to prepare the test specimen. The materials were admixed in the weight percents shown in Table 1.

[0104] The firrt Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene had a melt index of 6.5 g/lOminand a density of 0.918 g/cc.

[0105] The second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene had a melt index of 2.0 g/10 min and a density of of 0.917 g/cc.

[0106] A peroxide-modified polyethylene was prepared with the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene and an organic peroxide. (First Peroxide-Modified Polyethylene- 100)

[0107] A peroxide-modified polyethylene was prepared with 20 weight percent of the first

Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, 80 weight percent of the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, and an organic peroxide. (Second Peroxide-Modified Polyethylene-20/80)

[0108] A peroxide-modified polyethylene was prepared with 10 weight percent of the first

Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, 90 weight percent of the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, and an organic peroxide. (Third Peroxide-Modified Polyethylene- 10/90)

[0109] For all of the following samples, the polymer polymer processing aid was fluoroelastomer and added in amount of 700 ppm.

[0110] The crosslinking additive was a Monosil grafting composition.

TABLE 1

[0111] For Comparative Example 11 and Example 12, various compounds were formulated to prepare the test specimen. The materials were admixed in the weight percents shown in Table 2.

[0112] The first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene had a melt index of 6.5 g/10 min and a density of 0.918 g/cc. The second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene had a melt index of 2.0 g/10 min and a density of of 0.917 g/cc. A peroxide-modified polyethylene was prepared with 20 weight percent of the first Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, 80 weight percent of the second Ziegler-Natta-catalyzed polyethylene, and an organic peroxide. (First Peroxide-Modified Polyethylene-20/80)

[0113] The chromium-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene had a melt index of 0.75 g/10 min and a density of 0.920 g/cc.

[0114] The masterbatch was an ultraviolet black cable jacketing additive composition.

TABLE 2

[0115] It should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure as defined by the appended claims. Moreover, the scope of the present application is not intended to be limited to the particular embodiments of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, means, methods and steps described in the specification. As one of the ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate from the disclosure, processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps, presently existing or later to be developed that perform substantially the same function or achieve substantially the same result as the corresponding embodiments described herein can be utilized. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to include within their scope such processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps.