• ethylene–propylene–diene terpolymer (EPDM);
  • styrene–EPDM–acrylonitrile (AES);
  • graft copolymers;
  • blends;
  • toughness


High rubber styrene–EPDM–acrylonitrile (AES) was prepared by the graft copolymerization of styrene (St) and acrylonitrile (AN) onto ethylene–propylene–diene terpolymer (EPDM) in n-heptane/toluene cosolvent using benzoyl peroxide as an initiator. The effects of reaction conditions, such as reaction temperature, initiator concentration, EPDM content, the solvent component, and reaction time, on the graft copolymerization are discussed. In addition, according to the research on mechanical properties of the SAN/AES blend, a remarkable toughening effect of AES on SAN resin was found. By means of scanning electron microscopy, the toughening mechanism is proposed to be crazing initiation from rubber particles and shear deformation of SAN matrix. Uniform dispersion of rubber particles, as shown by transmission electron microscopy, is attributed to the good compatibility of SAN and AES. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 94: 416–423, 2004