Improvement of compatibility of poly(ethylene terephthalate) and poly(ethylene octene) blends by γ-irradiation



Blends of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and poly(ethylene octene) (POE) were prepared by melt blending with various amounts of trimethylolpropane triacylate (TMPTA). The mechanical properties, phase morphologies, and gel fractions at various absorbed doses of γ-irradiation have been investigated. It was found that the toughness of blends was enhanced effectively after irradiation as well as the tensile properties. The elongation at break for all studied PET/POE blends (POE being up to 15 wt %) with 2 wt % TMPTA reached 250–400% at most absorbed doses of γ-irradiation, approximately 50–80 times of those of untreated PET/POE blends. The impact strength of PET/POE (85/15 wt/wt) blends with 2 wt % TMPTA irradiated with as little as 30 kGy absorbed dose exceeded 17 kJ/m2, being approximately 3.4 times of those of untreated blends. The improvement of the mechanical properties was supported by the morphology changes. Scanning electron microscope images of fracture surfaces showed a smaller dispersed phase and more indistinct inter-phase boundaries in the irradiated blends. This indicates increased compatibility of PET and POE in the PET/POE blends. The changes of the morphologies and the enhancement of the mechanical properties were ascribed to the enhanced inter-phase boundaries by the formation of complex graft structures confirmed by the results of the gelation extraction and Fourier Transform Infrared analyses. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013