• hardness;
  • rubber;
  • blends


The microhardness, H, of PMMA/natural rubber blends, prepared following the solution method has been investigated by means of the microindentation technique. Hardness changes are correlated with the variation of the glass transition temperature. The influence of temperature and degree of deformation on H were additionally examined. The inclusion of rubber particles in the PMMA matrix is shown to soften the blends. The variation of the micromechanical property at the phase boundary of polymer/rubber particle has been studied. Results reveal that H drastically drops at the interphase. In the case of the drawn materials, the indentation anisotropy (ΔH) is shown to gradually increase with the draw ratio, where ΔH is found to be higher for the PMMA/rubber blend than for the original PMMA. This result is explained by the higher orientation of the PMMA molecules near the periphery of stretched rubber particles. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 205–210, 2004