Phase morphology development in ternary uncompatibilized and reactively compatibilized blends based on polyamide 6 (PA6), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS) has been investigated. Reactive compatibilization of the blends has been performed using two reactive precursors; maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PP-g-MA) and styrene maleic anhydride copolymer (SMA) for PA6/PP and PA6/PS pairs, respectively. For comparison purposes, uncompatibilized and reactively compatibilized PA6/PP and PA6/PS binary blends, were first investigated. All the blends were melt-blended using a co-rotating twin-screw extruder. The phase morphology investigated using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and selective solvent extraction tests revealed that PA6/PP/PS blends having a weight percent composition of 70/15/15 is constituted from polyamide 6 matrix in which are dispersed composite droplets of PP core encapsulated by PS phase. Whereas, a co-continuous three-phase morphology was formed in the blends having a composition of 40/30/30. This morphology has been significantly affected by the reactive compatibilization. In the compatibilized PA6/(PP/PP-MA)/(PS/SMA) blends, PA6 phase was no more continuous but gets finely dispersed in the PS continuous phase. The DSC measurements confirmed the dispersed character of the PA6 phase. Indeed, in the compatibilized PA6/(PP/PP-MA)/(PS/SMA) blends where the PA6 particle size was smaller than 1 mu m, the bulk crystallization temperature of PA6 (188 degrees C) was completely suppressed and a new crystallization peak emerges at a lower temperature of 93 degrees C as a result of homogeneous nucleation of PA6. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.