Giulio Natta Nobel laureate pioneer in polymers developed Ziegler-Natta catalyst

Giulio Natta – pioneer in polymers

Article on Giulio Natta

Biography & contributions

Giulio Natta was an Italian chemist and Nobel laureate born on February 26, 1903 – died on May 02, 1979. Natta was best known for development of Ziegler-Natta catalyst.

Natta was the winner of many notable medals and prizes in various fields like Nobel Prize in chemistry in the year of 1963, Lomonosov Gold Medal in the year of 1969. Natta worked on physical separation of butadiene from 1-butadiene. He contributed his works towards the development of high polymers useful in the manufacture of films, plastics, fibres, and synthetic rubber. He researched the structure of inorganic compounds and industrial catalysts with X-rays.

His earlier work formed the basis of modern industrial syntheses of methanol, formaldehyde, butyraldehyde, and succinic acid. In 1953 he began intensive study of macromolecules. In 1954, Natta produced a new polypropylene with great durability, heat resistance, and tensile strength.

Ziegler-Natta Catalyst

Ziegler-Natta catalyst is a catalyst used in the synthesis of polymers of 1-alkenes (α-olefins). Ziegler-Natta catalysts are the catalysts any of an important class of mixtures of chemical compounds remarkable for their ability to effect the polymerization of olefins to polymers of high molecular weights and highly orderedstructures.

Ziegler-Natta catalysts of the third class, non-metallocene catalysts, use a variety of complexes of various metals, ranging from scandium to lanthanoid and actinoid metals, and a large variety of ligands containing oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. The Ziegler-Natta catalysts include many mixtures of halides of transition metals, especially titanium, chromium, vanadium, and zirconium, with organic derivatives of nontransition metals, particularly alkyl aluminum compounds.


Polypropylene is the second most important plastic with revenues expected to exceed US$145 billion by 2019. Polypropylene is normally tough and flexible thermoplastic polymer. It is widely used in packaging and labeling, textiles,ropes, carpets, stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes. Polypropylene is liable to chain degradation from exposure to heat and UV radiation such as that present in sunlight. Polypropylene is widely used in ropes, distinctive because they are light enough to float in water.

Polypropylene is also used as an alternative to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as insulation for electrical cables. Polypropylene is also used in particular roofing membranes as the waterproofing top layer of single-ply systems as opposed to modified-bit systems. Polypropylene is most commonly used for plastic moldings, wherein it is injected into a mold while molten, forming complex shapes at relatively low cost and high volume. Polypropylene is used in the manufacture of loudspeaker drive units. Polypropylene is used in polypropylene drums. Polypropylene is a major polymer used in nonwovens. Polypropylene has been used in hernia and pelvic organ prolapse repair operations.

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