Tert-Butylcatechol (TBC) is added to styrene and butadiene to inhibit polymerization during manufacturing, storage and shipping. TBC will react with dissolved oxygen to form quinones which acts as an inhibitor by reacting with chain free radicals thereby preventing propagation, and second the removal of dissolved oxygen prevents the formation of peroxides which are potentially dangerous polymerization initiators. TBC must be removed from the monomer stream before polymerization is initiated and water often must be removed due to the hygroscopic nature of some monomers.
SEPCOR provides a specialty activated alumina to remove the TBC compound so that the styrene can meet specifications. The unique high bulk density and very high microporosity of this alumina means increased vessel capacity and allows enhanced water adsorption. At equilibrium conditions, the amount of TBC adsorbed is >11 wt% for both low (2-15 ppm) and high (>100 ppm) TBC
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