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Miscibility and crystallization of metallocene polyethylene blends with polypropylene

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Abstract

The crystallization and morphology of very-low-density polyethylene (VLDPE) and ultra-low-density polyethylene (ULDPE) blends with isotactic polypropylene (PP) were studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and hot-stage optical microscopy (HSOM) with polarized light. In particular, the isothermal crystallization of PP in molten PE was investigated. A polypropylene homopolymer was melt-blended with six types of VLDPEs and ULDPEs, with variations in branch content and length and in molecular weight. All the blends contained 20% PP by mass. It was found that the crystallization temperatures of PP and PE changed in the blends, and the crystallization of PP was affected by branch length and content and by the molecular weight of the PE, indicating a certain degree of miscibility between PP and PE. The isothermal crystallization rate of PP decreased in the blends; in particular, the crystallization rate of PP was slower in the ULDPE with lower MFI, suggesting that crystallization of PP was hindered by PE and that its rate was regulated by the viscosity of ULDPE. HSOM images showed that a portion of the PP crystallized from molten PE, although phase separation was obvious, providing additional information on the miscible behavior between PP and VLDPEs (or ULDPEs). Furthermore, the miscible level between the PP and the ULDPEs was higher than that between the PP and the VLDPEs because the degree of change in the crystallization behavior of the PP and PE was greater in the PP–ULDPE blends. This was possibly a result of the higher branch content in the ULDPE. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 87: 1179–1189, 2003

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