Interfacial agents for multiphase polymer systems: Recent advances



The rapid growth in the use of multiphase polymer systems (blends and composites) is undoubtedly related to the availability of methods of controlling the physical and chemical interactions at the interface. Compounds acting as interfacial agents are commonly known as “compatibilizers” in blends, or “coupling agents” in composites; their function is to promote adhesion and enhance overall properties. This paper is a review of recent advances in the use of these compounds in immiscible polymer blends and thermoplastic composites. Polymeric compatibilizers are classified according to their method of addition (in situformation vs. separate addition) and reactivity. Reactive low molecular weight compounds are also listed and their various coupling mechanisms are discussed. It is demonstrated that common routes to enhanced adhesion exist for some types of blends and composites. For example, reactive graft copolymers and certain crosslinklng agents are equally effective as adhesion promoters in blends and composites containing a polyolefin phase.