Freeslate Dramatically Improves Throughput with New Polyolefin Catalyst Synthesis System

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Polyolefin CatSyn Reactor Enables Users to Synthesize 16 Catalysts Per Day and Safely Handle Corrosive Agents

By expanding Freeslate’s proven technologies into catalyst synthesis, we are providing scientists with a way to jumpstart their research and speed polyolefin development.

Freeslate, Inc., the leading provider of high throughput research solutions, today introduced the Polyolefin CatSyn Reactor, its new reactor designed to increase the throughput of Ziegler-Natta and supported metallocene catalyst synthesis. With its ability to automatically and reproducibly synthesize 16 catalysts per day, the Polyolefin CatSyn Reactor overcomes the productivity limitations associated with conventional manual processes. Manual processes typically allow for the synthesis of two or three catalysts per week.

“Polyolefins are in high demand because of their low cost and the ability to be used in a wide range of applications. However, the manual catalyst synthesis processes currently in use are slowing the rate of innovation considerably,” said John S. Senaldi, Freeslate’s President and CEO. “By expanding Freeslate’s proven technologies into catalyst synthesis, we are providing scientists with a way to jumpstart their research and speed polyolefin development.”

The Polyolefin CatSyn Reactor enables catalysts to be synthesized with independent control of factors such as temperature, reaction time, addition rate, and other parameters critical to synthesizing complex heterogeneous structures. Integrated sample washing and filtration coupled with inert gas control simplifies work-up. The dry, isolated product can be weighed to quantify yield and then be prepared in a slurry form for use in polymerization. When used in conjunction with other systems from Freeslate, researchers can take advantage of a complete, integrated, high throughput workflow for polyolefin development from catalyst synthesis all the way to polymer analysis.

“It was amazing to see not only how quickly the sets of catalysts were synthesized, but also how reproducible they were in composition, polymerization behavior, and final polymer properties,” said Professor Vincenzo Busico from the Laboratory for Stereoselective Polymerization, University of Naples Federico II, who is collaborating with Freeslate.

Key features of the Polyolefin CatSyn Reactor include:

  •     Inert atmosphere, with the entire synthesis system built into a custom glove box.
  •     Advanced handling of corrosive reagents, such as TiCl4 and aluminum alkyls.
  •     Integrated, parallel, automated work-up capabilities accelerate the most tedious and time consuming part of catalyst synthesis.
  •     Special handling of reactive waste streams to simplify daily operations. Independent reactor control, for more precision in studying the impact of synthesis conditions on the final catalyst.
  •     High throughput, array based experimentation allowing the coverage of a larger experimental space in a single run.
  •     Integrate informatics via Freeslate's LEA software suite delivers comprehensive solution for experimental design, synthesis execution, and data capture and analysis.

Catalyst synthesis and associated polymerization results were presented during a technical talk at the INCOREP 2013 meeting held earlier this month. The polymerization tests were performed independently by HTExplore, a co-contributor to the presentation. Besides demonstrating excellent and reproducible catalyst yield and composition, the associated polymerizations showed highly reproducible activity and molecular for polyethylene as well as isotacticity for polypropylene.

About Freeslate

Freeslate is a privately held company that provides products and related services for high throughput research. Based on its proprietary laboratory automation platforms, high throughput pressure reactors, and integrated Lab Execution and Analysis (LEA) software suite, the company enables dramatic gains in its customers’ productivity and innovation by delivering seamlessly integrated automation solutions. Freeslate leverages its scientific expertise through its team of Ph.D. scientists, engineers, and software developers with directly relevant experience in the industries it serves. Collaborating with customers for more than a decade, the business has provided high throughput research solutions for the pharmaceutical, chemical, and energy industries. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with direct sales and service in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit

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Mikelle Thatcher
Freeslate, Inc.
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