Journal of applied polymer science vol:71 issue:9 pages:1405-1429
The morphology of immiscible blends of nylon 6 and ethylene propylene rubber blends (EPM) was studied. The blends were prepared by melt blending in a twin-screw miniextruder and a Haake Rheocord mixer. The influence of the blend ratio, time of mixing, rotation speed of the rotors, mixing temperature, and quenching of the extruded melt at low temperature on the phase morphology of the blends was quantitatively analyzed. The morphology was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) after preferential extraction of the minor phase. The SEM micrographs were quantitatively analyzed for domain-size measurements. The morphology of the blends indicated that the EPM phase was preferentially dispersed as domains in the continuous nylon matrix up to 40 wt % of its concentration. A cocontinuous morphology was observed at 50 and 60 wt % EPM content followed by a phase inversion beyond 60 wt % of EPM where the nylon phase was dispersed as domains in the continuous EPM phase. The size, shape, and distribution of the domains were evaluated by image analysis as a function of the bleed composition, The effect of the time of mixing on the phase morphology was studied up to 20 min for the 30/70 EPM/nylon blend. The most significant domain breakup was observed within the first 3 min of mixing followed by a leveling off up to 15 min. This may be associated with the equilibrium between the domain breakup and coalescence. The influence of rotor speed on the morphology was insignificant at a high rotor speed although a significant effect was observed by changing the rotor speed from 9 to 20 rpm. The influence of high-temperature annealing, repeated cycles of extrusion, the molecular weight of the nylon matrix, and the nature of the mixer type (twin-screw miniextruder versus Haake Rheocord mixer) on the morphology was also investigated in detail. The experimental results were compared with literature data. Finally, the extent of interface adhesion in these blends was analyzed by examination of the fracture-surface morphology. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.