Compatibilisation of heterogeneous polymer blends by reactive processing
Functionalisation of polystyrene, PS, and ethylene-co-propylene-co-cyclopentadiene terpolymer, EPDM, with acrylic acid, AA, in a melt reactive processing procedure, in the presence of peroxide, trigonox 101, and coagents, Divinyl benzene, DVB (for PS), and trimethylolpropane triacrylate, TRIS (for EPDM), were successfully carried out. The level of grafting of the AA, as determined by infrared analysis, was significantly enhanced by the coagents. The grafting reaction of AA takes place simultaneously with homopolymerisation of the monomers, melt degradation and crosslinking reactions of the polymers. The extent of these competing reactions were inferred from measurements of melt flow index and insoluble gel content. Through a judicious use of both the peroxide and the coagent, particularly TRIS, unwanted side reactions were minimized. Five different processing methods were investigated for both functionalisation experiments; the direct addition of the pre-mixed polymer with peroxide and reactive modifiers was found to give optimum condition for grafting. The functionalised PS, F-PS, and EPDM, F-EPD, and maleinised polypropylene carrying a potential antioxidant, N-(4-anilinophenyl maleimide), F-PP were melt blended in binary mixtures of F-PS/F-EPD and F-PP/F-EPD in the presence (or absence) of organic diamines which act as an interlinking agent, e.g, Ethylene Diamine, EDA, and Hexamethylene Diamine, HEMDA. The presence of an interlinking agent, particularly HEMDA shows significant enhancement in the mechanical properties of the blend, suggesting that the copolymer formed has acted as compatibiliser to the otherwise incompatible polymer pairs.