Influence of grafted polypropylene on the mechanical properties of mineral-filled polypropylene composites
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The purpose of this work was to study how mineral fillers would behave in a polypropylene (PP) matrix when PP modified with maleic anhydride (MA) and/or itaconic acid (IA) was used as a coupling agent in the preparation of mineral-filled PP composites. The composites were characterized with tensile mechanical measurements and morphological analysis. The optimum amount of the coupling agent to be used to obtain composites with improved mechanical properties was established. The results indicated that these coupling agents enhanced the tensile strength of the composites significantly, and the extent of the coupling effect depended on the nature of the interface that formed. The incorporation of coupling agents enhanced the resistance to deformation of the composite. The behavior of IA-modified PP as a coupling agent was similar to that of a commercial MA-modified PP for the filled PP composites. Evidence of improved interfacial bonding was revealed by scanning electron microscopy studies, which examined the surfaces of fractured tensile test specimens; their microstructures confirmed the mechanical results with respect to the observed homogeneous or optimized dispersion of the mineral-filler phase in these composites.