Polyolefin is the most widely used and versatile commodity polymer. In this work, three types of polyolefin-based elastomers (PBEs) were adopted to toughen a high-flow polypropylene to improve its overall performance. The chain microstructures of these PBEs, including ethylene/1-octene (E/O) random copolymer from Dow Chemical′s polyolefin elastomer (POE), olefin block copolymers (OBCs) of E/O from Dow, and ethylene/propylene random copolymer from ExxonMobil’s propylene-based elastomer, were elucidated by GPC, 13C NMR, TREF, and DSC techniques. The mechanical, thermal and optical properties, and morphology analysis of the PP/PBE blends were also studied to investigate the toughening mechanism of these PBEs. The results showed that all three types of PBEs can effectively improve the Izod impact strength of the PP/PBE blends by the addition of the rubber compositions, at the cost of the stiffness. PBE-1 and PBE-2 were found to have a great stiffness–toughness balance with about 1700 MPa of flexural modulus, about 110 °C of HDT and 3.6 kJ/m2 of impact strength on the prepared PP/PBE blends by forming separated rubber phase and refined spherulite crystals. As a result, the OBC with alternating hard and soft segments could achieve a similar toughening effect as the E/P random copolymer. Surprisingly, no obvious rubber phase separation was observed in the PP/PBE-4 blend, which might be due to the good compatibility of the E/P random chains with the isotactic PP; therefore, the PP/PBE blend obtains great toughness performance and optical transparency with the highest Izod impact strength of 4.2 kJ/m2 and excellent transparency.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited