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Toughening of polypropylene with crystallizable poly(ethylene oxide)

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A crystallizable polymer, poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), was used as new modifier to tailor the toughness of isotactic polypropylene (iPP). An optimum performance was achieved at a medium PEO content of 15 wt% where the toughness was enhanced by 300%, while the strength only decreased slightly. To elucidate the origin of toughening in the iPP/PEO blends, various crystallographic and morphological experiments including X‐ray diffraction, electron microscopy and calorimetry were adopted to explore the dependences of polymorphic composition and crystallized morphology on PEO content. When the PEO content is less than 15 wt%, the dispersed PEO cannot crystallize, and these non‐crystalline PEO microspheres are embedded in both α‐ and ‐form iPP spherulites, which is mainly responsible for the toughening. In contrast, when the PEO content is higher than 15 wt%, the PEO phase becomes crystallizable, and significant phase segregation takes place, resulting in a marked deterioration in mechanical properties. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: poly(ethylene oxide); polymorphism; polypropylene; toughening

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

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