The world’s most important plastic, polyethylene, consists of inert hydrocarbon chains. An introduction of reactive polar groups in these chains is much sought-after, to overcome the problematic environmental persistency and enhance compatibility with other materials. However, with state of the art catalytic polymerization processes this has not been possible. Here, we show how a low density of individual in-chain keto groups can be generated in the high molecular weight polyethylene chains by catalytic copolymerization with carbon monoxide. Most importantly, the desirable materials’ properties of high density polyethylene (HDPE) are retained. Processing can be performed by common injection molding and mechanical characteristics are on a par.
Supporting informations inchain keto-ChemRxiv