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Fracture behaviour of controlled‐rheology ethylene–propylene block copolymers

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The evolution of the molecular weight distribution and the thermal, mechanical and fracture behaviour of controlled‐rheology ethylene‐propylene block copolymers (ca 8 wt% ethylene content) has been analysed. Various concentrations of di‐tert‐butylperoxide were utilized. The melt flow index increased with the peroxide content due to the reduction of the molecular weight and the narrowing of the molecular weight distribution. However, the thermal behaviour and degree of crystallinity were not improved and some mechanical properties, such as the tensile strength and elongation at break, presented an anomalous behaviour. This trend can be explained by the presence of the elastomeric phase. The addition of peroxide influenced strongly the JR curves obtained via the elastic–plastic fracture mechanics approach. The slope of these curves was markedly reduced with addition of peroxide to almost being flat for the highest concentration. This loss of ductility and the sudden decrease of the fracture toughness values with an increasing amount of peroxide were mainly due to the reduction in the molecular weight. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: J–R curves; controlled rheology; ethylene‐propylene block copolymers; fracture toughness; normalization method

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

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