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Keywords:

  • compatibilization;
  • high-density polyethylene/high-impact polystyrene (HDPE/HIPS);
  • block copolymers;
  • interfaces;
  • phase separation

Abstract

Compatibilization of polymer blends of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blend by styrene/ethylene–butylene/styrene (SEBS) was elucidated. Polymer blends containing many ratios of HIPS and HDPE with various concentrations of SEBS were prepared. The Izod impact strength and elongation at break of the blends increased with increases in SEBS content. They increased markedly when the HDPE content was higher than 50 wt %. Tensile strength of blends increased when the SEBS concentration was not higher than 5 pphr. Whenever the SEBS loading was higher than 5 pphr, the tensile strength decreased and a greater decrease was found in blends in which the HDPE concentration was more than 50 wt %. The log additivity rule model was applied to these blends, which showed that the blends containing the HIPS-rich phase gave higher compatibility at the higher shear rates. Surprisingly, the blends containing the HDPE-rich phase yielded greater compatibility at the lower shear rates. Morphology observations of the blends indicated better compatibility of the blends with increasing SEBS concentration. The relaxation time (T2) values from the pulsed NMR measurements revealed that both polymer blends became more compatible when the SEBS concentration was increased. When integrating all the investigations of compatibility compared with the mechanical properties, it is possible to conclude that SEBS promotes a certain level of compatibilization for several ratios of HIPS/HDPE blends. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 742–755, 2004