• polypropylene composites;
  • mechanical properties;
  • dynamic mechanical analysis


In the present article, a series of commercial-grade polypropylenes (PP) filled with different contents of short basalt fibers were studied. This composite material presented deterioration of both mechanical characteristics, for example, stress and strain at yield with increasing of the fiber content. On the other hand, the impact strength was fourfold higher than that of unfilled PP. A poor adhesion between the PP matrix and the basalt fibers was detected. This is why interfacial interactions were promoted by the adding of poly(propylene-g-maleic anhydride) (PP-g-MA). It was observed that the tensile properties of the obtained materials and their impact strengths increased significantly with increasing of the amount of PP-g-MA in the blend. The adhesion improvement was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy as well. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was applied to assess if any chemical interactions in the system PP/PP-g-MA/basalt fibers exist. Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis data showed an increase of the storage modulus with increasing fiber content. The conclusion was made that the modification of the PP matrix led to a higher stiffness but its value remained constant, irrespective of the PP-g-MA content. With increasing fiber content, damping in the β-region decreased, but increase of the coupling agent content restored its value back to that of PP. The loss modulus spectra presented a strong influence of fiber content on the α-relaxation process of PP. The position of the peaks of the above-mentioned relaxation processes are discussed as well. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 74: 523–531, 1999