Polypropylene/organoclay nanocomposites modified with different maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PPgMA) compatibilizers were compounded on a twin-screw extruder. The effectiveness of the feeding sequence and compatibilizer type toward the dispersion of organoclay into PP matrix was critically studied. The composites prepared with side feed appeared to provide better dispersion and modulus improvement over that with hopper feed. The effect of PPgMA compatibilizers, including PB3150, PB3200, PB3000, and E43, with a wide range of maleic anhydride (MA) content and molecular weight was also examined. The structure was investigated with X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. The relative complex viscosity curves also revealed a systematic trend with the extent of exfoliation and showed promise for quantifying the hybrid structure of the nanocomposites. Mechanical properties were determined by dynamical mechanical analysis and tensile and impact tests. Maleated polypropylene with low-melt flow index and moderate MA content enhanced clay dispersion and resulted in significant improvement in tensile modulus of the nanocomposites. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 93: 100–112, 2004
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