Evaluation of olefinic block copolymer blends with amorphous polyolefins—effect of different unsaturated and saturated hydrocarbon tackifier resins on blend miscibility


Correspondence to: P. Rajesh Raja (E-mail: rajeshp@eastman.com)


Blends of ethylene–octene based olefinic block copolymer (OBC) with two amorphous polyolefin (APO) polymers [atactic propylene homopolymer (PP) and ethylene–propylene copolymer (PE–PP)] were evaluated at three different ratios. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) evaluations were performed to determine the blend miscibility characteristics. Viscoelastic properties of both OBC blends with PP polymer, and OBC blends with PE–PP copolymer showed incompatibility. Analysis revealed that both blends formed two phase morphologies. The effect of three unsaturated aliphatic hydrocarbon resins with varying aromatic content and two saturated hydrocarbon resins with different chemistries were evaluated as compatibilizing agent for OBC/PP and OBC/PE–PP blends. A 1 : 1 polymer blend ratio of OBC/PP and OBC/PE–PP was selected to better understand the influence of resin addition at three different levels 20, 30, and 40 wt %. The fully aliphatic unsaturated resin seems to improve the miscibility of the OBC/PP blends at higher resin addition levels, but reduced the miscibility as the aromatic content of the resin increases. However, OBC/PE–PP blends showed improved miscibility with increasing aromatic content. A ternary phase morphology was particularly observed for both OBC/PP and OBC/PE–PP blends with highly aromatic (14%) unsaturated hydrocarbon resin, in which OBC formed the continuous phase, and PP, PE–PP, and unsaturated hydrocarbon resins formed the dispersed phase. Interestingly, we did not observe much difference in miscibility characteristics between the two saturated resin chemistries in both blend systems (OBC/PP and OBC/PE–PP). The Harkins spreading coefficient concept was used to better understand the ternary blend dispersed phase morphology. Spreading coefficients indicate that the free hydrocarbon resins (both unsaturated and saturated) were encapsulated by the amorphous PP or amorphous PE–PP polymer in the dispersed phase for the respective blend compositions. Overall OBC–PP and OBC/PE–PP blends showed better miscibility characteristics with both saturated aliphatic hydrocarbon resins, irrespective of the difference in resin chemistries. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 2624–2644, 2013