Use of monomethyl itaconate grafted poly(propylene) (PP) and ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) as compatibilizers for PP/EPR blends
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The use of grafted poly(propylene) (PP) and a random copolymer of ethylene and propylene (EPR) with an itaconic acid derivative, monomethyl itaconate (MMI), as compatibilizer for PP/EPR blends was analyzed. The grafting reaction was performed at 190degreesC in a Brabender Plasticorder. 2,5-Dimethyl-2,5-bis (tert-butylperoxy) hexane was the radical initiator for the functionalization of PP, dicumyl peroxide was used as the radical initiator for the modification of EPR. The obtained degree of grafting was 1.5% by weight for PP and 1.2% by weight for EPR. The compatibilizing effect of modified polymers on the processability, morphology, and mechanical and thermal properties of the blends was of interest. Compatibilization substantially improved the toughness and deformation with little effect on the tensile modulus and strength. Moreover, this effect was particularly evident when both polymeric phases were grafted. Regarding compatibilization, the viscosity of the blends increased due to the high interfacial adhesion. Morphological studies showed that the particle size of the rubbery phase was reduced and the dispersion in the matrix improved by compatibilization. The grafted polymers behaved as nucleating agents, accelerating the PP crystallization.