• polymer composites;
  • conifer fiber;
  • polypropylene;
  • maleated polypropylene;
  • ethylene/propylene/diene terpolymer


Conifer fibers were used to reinforce polypropylene (PP). To improve the compatibility between the conifer fibers and the PP matrix, the fibers were either grafted with maleated PP (MAPP), treated by adding MAPP, or mixed with ethylene/propylene/diene terpolymer (EPDM). The treatments resulted in improved processing, as well as improvements in the thermal and mechanical properties of the resultant composites compared with the composites filled with untreated conifer fibers. Moreover, MAPP grafting and MAPP treating displayed more obvious benefits than EPDM treating in terms of thermal properties, processing flowability, and tensile strength improvements. EPDM treating also produced more significant benefits than either MAPP grafting or MAPP treating in terms of impact strength and tensile elongation improvements. These improvements were attributed to surface coating of the fibers when EPDM was used. In addition, the effect of the concentration of the conifer fibers on the properties of the composites and the difference between MAPP grafting and MAPP treating were evaluated. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 80: 2833–2841, 2001