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Keywords:

  • compatibility;
  • composites;
  • compounding;
  • elastomers;
  • mechanical properties

Abstract

Short-glass-fiber (SGF)-reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites toughened with a styrene/ethylene butylene/styrene (SEBS) triblock copolymer were injection molded after extrusion. Furthermore, a maleic anhydride (MA)-grafted SEBS copolymer (SEBS-g-MA) was used as an impact modifier and compatibilizer. The effects of the processing conditions and compatibilizer on the microstructure and tensile and impact performance of the hybrid composites were investigated. In the route 1 fabrication process, SGF, PP, and SEBS were blended in an extruder twice, and this was followed by injection molding. In route 2, or the sequential blending process, the elastomer and PP were mixed thoroughly before the addition of SGF. In other words, either PP and SEBS or PP and SEBS-g-MA pellets were premixed in an extruder. The produced pellets were then blended with SGF in the extruder, and this was followed by injection molding. The SGF/SEBS-g-MA/PP hybrid fabricated by the route 2 process exhibited the highest modulus, yield stress, tensile stress at break, Izod impact energy, and Charpy drop weight impact strength among the composites investigated. This was due to the formation of a homogeneous SEBS elastomeric interlayer at the SGF and matrix interface of the SGF/SEBS-g-MA/PP hybrid. This SEBS rubbery layer enhanced the interfacial bonding between SGF and the matrix of the SGF/SEBS-g-MA/PP hybrid. The correlations between the processing, microstructure, and properties of the hybrids were investigated. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 88: 1384–1392, 2003