A method concerning with the simultaneous reinforcing and toughening of polypropylene (PP) was reported. Dynamical cure of the epoxy resin with 2-ethylene-4-methane-imidazole (EMI-2,4) was successfully applied in the PP/maleic anhydride-grafted ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (MAH-g-EVA), and the obtained blends named as dynamically cured PP/MAH-g-EVA/epoxy blends. The stiffness and toughness of the blends are in a good balance, and the smaller size of epoxy particle in the PP/MAH-g-EVA/epoxy blends shows that MAH-g-EVA was also used as a compatibilizer. The structure of the dynamically cured PP/MAH-g-EVA/epoxy blends is the embedding of the epoxy particles by the MAH-g-EVA. The cured epoxy particles as organic filler increases the stiffness of the PP/MAH-g-EVA blends, and the improvement in the toughness is attributed to the embedded structure. The tensile strength and flexural modulus of the blends increase with increasing the epoxy resin content, and the impact strength reaches a maximum of 258 J/m at the epoxy resin content of 10 wt %. DSC analysis shows that the epoxy particles in the dynamically cured PP/MAH-g-EVA/epoxy blends could have contained embedded MAH-g-EVA, decreasing the nucleating effect of the epoxy resin. Thermogravimetric results show the addition of epoxy resin could improve the thermal stability of PP, the dynamically cured PP/MAH-g-EVA/epoxy stability compared with the pure PP.
Wide-angle x-ray diffraction analysis shows that the dynamical cure and compatibilization do not disturb the crystalline structure of PP in the blends. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009