A series of thermoplastic vulcanizates of polypropylene (PP)/nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) (50/50) have been prepared by melt-mixing method, using phenolic resin/SnCl2 as the curing system and maleic anhydride-functionalized PP (PP-g-MA) and carboxylated NBR (NBRE-RCOOH) as the compatibilizing system. Triethylenetetramine was also employed to promote the reaction between the functionalized polymers. The effects of curing agent and compatibilizer on the mechanical and morphological properties have been studied. A novel technique based on positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy has been used to measure the free volume parameters of these systems. The positron results showed minimum free volume size and free volume fraction at 5.0% of the curing agent suggesting some crosslinking in the rubber phase. The reduction in free volume holes at 2.5% of the compatibilizer is interpreted as improvement in the interfacial adhesion between the components of the blend. The observed variation of free volume fraction is opposite to the tensile strength and exhibits the correlation that, lesser the free volume more is the tensile strength at 2.5% of the compatibilizer in the blend. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 102: 4672–4681, 2006.
B. G. Soares, Almeida, M. S. M., Urs, M. V. Deepa, Kumaraswamy, G. N., Ranganathaiah, C., ,, and Mauler, R., “Influence of curing agent and compatibilizer on the physicomechanical properties of polypropylene/nitrile butadiene rubber blends investigated by positron annihilation lifetime technique”, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, vol. 102, pp. 4672–4681, 2006.