Frederick J. Karol
A worldwide authority in resin polymerization who is best known for his central role in the development and commercialization of the Unipol process for producing polyethylene.
Dr. Frederick J. Karol, Senior Corporate Fellow in the Polyolefins Division of the Union Carbide Corporation, is a worldwide authority in resin polymerization who is best known for his central role in the development and commercialization of the Unipol process for producing polyethylene. Today 46 licensees in 26 countries use the process, accounting for 8.3 million metric tons of capacity.
The recipient of a B.A. degree from Boston Univeersity and Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Karol began his pioneering work in the 1960s with the development of organotransition metal catalysis systems to produce high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in a gas-phase, fluidized bed reactor. This involved directing the scale-up of the process to pilot plant and full-scale production.
In the early 1970s, he identified the catalyst technology required to produce the first family of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) products, initially used for wire and cable insulation. He subsequently invented and developed a second family of catalysts for producing LLDPE film grades as alternatives to conventinoal high-pressure polyethylene products. This family of LLDPE products produced by the Unipol process was the basis for large-scale conversion from LDPE because of better end-use performance. A third generation of catalysts was developed in the early 1980s to produce grades with broader molecular weight distributions.
Dr. Karol has been instrumental in other programs aimed at developing improved polymerization routes, including the Unipol process for producing polypropylene. He was also involved in the development of low-modulus Flexomer PE products.
The author or coauthor of 30 publications and 80 United States patents, Dr. Karol was recently elected a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) for his outstanding contributions to the plastics industry. He also received SPE's Engineering/Technology Award and, in 1990, SPE's highest honor, the International Award. Other recognition includes the Perkin Medal for outstanding achievement in applied chemistry.
He is active in the American Chemical Society, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Institute of Chemists.
Born in Norton, MA, in 1933, he now lives with his wife Ruth in Belle Mead, NJ. They have three children.