Linear alpha olefins (LAOs) are alkenes with a terminal double bond between the first and the second carbon atom. This double bond determines the chemical properties and can undergo all reactions of an olefin including polymerisation, addition metathesis and others.
LAOs are primarily used as co-monomers in the production of polyethylene. Here, the co-monomer is implemented into a polyethylene chain to modify its properties. LAOs are also used as precursors for detergents, synthetic lubricants, plasticisers and as copolymers.LAOs are produced by the oligomerisation of ethylene. A number of processes can be used to produce either a mixture of LAOs (full-range processes) with different alkene chain lengths or a single LAO (on-purpose processes). LAOs are also produced as a by-product of the Fischer Tropsch synthesis, and can be separated into individual components by fractionation.