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Abstract

Blends of polypropylene (PP) and ethylene-propylene rubber (EPR) and blends of polystyrene (PS) and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) were prepared in a laboratory-scale internal mixer at various blend compositions and rotor rates. Blend morphology was studied by means of electron microscopy. For each blend pair under the given processing conditions, the phase inversion process occurred progressively with respect to the variation in blend composition; it is within this composition range of phase inversion that dual-phase continuity was observed. In addition, Characteristic torque values of blends were found to deviate negatively from a linear additivity rule; the composition range of maximum deviation from linear additivity corresponded approximately to the composition range where dual-phase continuity was observed. Sperling's predictive scheme was found to yield acceptable (although not completely satisfactory) estimates for compositions of dual-phase continuity in the present systems. It was also observed that partial cross-linking of SBR during the mechanical blending process, as suggested by the appearance of a cure peak in the torque curve and supported by infrared spectroscopic evidence, resulted in morphological features drastically different from those of the uncured blends.