The incorporation of functional groups in rigid cycloaliphatic polyolefins is envisioned to lead to macromolecular materials with very good mechanical strength and high heat distortion temperatures. In addition, they are expected to provide enhanced intra- and intermolecular interactions which may promote miscibility or compatibility of polymer blends. In the initial stages of the project, novel ionic Pd(ll)-complexes will be designed which will be used as the catalysts for the addition polymerization of strained cyclic olefins with functional groups including carboxylic acid, ester and anhydride substituents The catalysts will be tested in respect of their activity toward monomers with a different substitution pattern including endo- and exo-, and mono- and di-substitution of polycyclic olefins. Copolymerizations with bicyclo(2.2.1)hept-5-ene-2-carboxylic acid and subsequent neutralization with alkaline and alkaline earth metal hydroxides should provide access to rigid ionomers with 0.01 to 0.10 alkali metal carboxylate groups per repeating unit. The ionic aggregates represent electrostatic (reversible) crosslinks between the polymer chains of the matrix phase and thereby lead to good thermomechanical performance. Techniques for structural analysis will include transmission electron microscopy and xray analysis. The mechanical behaviour will be evaluated by tensile and impact testing. The influence of low molecular weight carboxylates as additives for plasticization will be assessed. Ion pair - cross aggregation might promote phase compatibility with an elastomeric ionomer component and could lead to polymer blends with increased toughness.