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Published: Kem. Ind. 59 (4) (2010) 163–168
Paper reference number: KUI-25/2009
Paper type: Original scientific paper
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Modification of PE/PP Polymer Blend Nanocomposites with EPR and EVA Copolymers

A. Ptiček Siročić, Z. Katančić, Z. Hrnjak-Murgić and J. Jelenčić


During the last decade, the use of polyolephinic polymers has been growing in a wide range of fields of applicability and the most widely used polymers are polyethylene and polypropylene. They can be processed separately to produce items with certain properties as well as in the form of blends, where special combinations of properties and price are intended. As it is known, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are incompatible and the weak interfacial bond strength between the phases directly linked to the blend morphology and results in poor mechanical properties. The properties of many polymer blends arise from the fine-scale structural arrangements or blend morphologies obtained during processing in addition to the proportion of each polymer type present. Compounding PE/PP blends with a single compatibilizer or their combination or some other additives as nanofiller, results in multi-component composites of great interest to research as they enable simultaneous improvement in the final properties of the blend. In addition, it is well known that the extrusion process has a significant effect on the dispersion of the filler in the blends. In this work, the mutual effect of the nanofiller silicium-dioxide (SiO2) and the compatibilizers ethylene-propylene copolymer (EPR) and ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) on the properties of blends based on polyethylene and polypropylene were studied. The morphology of the samples prepared with nanofiller and compatibilizers is much finer in comparison to the virgin blend. Better dispersion of nanofiller will result in better stability of the polymer blend and decrease in polymer flammability. The addition of the nanofiller and compatibilizers produced an increase in the elasticity especially for the samples prepared in the two-stage extrusion process where the nanofiller was first extruded with PE matrix and then with other polymers of the blends. SEM micrographs confirm finer morphology of samples prepared with compatibilizer and filler, which is the result of improved interactions between polymer components. The morphology also showed finer dispersion when EPR was used as compatibilizer, meaning that it has more effect in the investigated blends than EVA. Further, a slight increase in the limiting oxygen index was found in the blend prepared with EVA and nanofiller, which means that this blend has higher flame resistance, and it can be concluded that the nanofiller in combination with different amounts of the components in the formulations affects flammability.

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dispersion, filler, mechanical properties, nanocomposites, polymer blends, silica