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Abstract

The impact fracture energy (Gc) for a polypropylene homopolymer and a copolymer with and without calcium carbonate fillers was measured over a range of temperatures between −40°C and 40°C using fracture mechanics principles. The fillers studied were Omyacarb (∼2.7 μm) and Winnofil (∼75 nm) and 10% by weight was added to the matrix material. These fillers did not have any appreciable effect on Gc of the copolymer-based composites. However, the Omyacarb fillers improved Gc of the homopolymer at low temperatures (⩽20°C) due to enhanced microplastic flow as observed on the fracture surfaces. The fillers increased the stiffness of both the homopolymer and copolymer. It would appear that up to 10% of cheap calcium carbonate fillers could be added to the more expensive polypropylene to reduce the production cost without any significant loss of impact fracture energy.