Polyamide 6 or polycaprolactam is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic whose toughness is very notch sensitive and consequently the material presents extreme susceptibility to stress concentrations. Thus, although such polyamides may fracture on a typical ductile manner on mechanical testing without notches, it will become brittle after being notched. The pseudo-ductile behavior in polyamides poses a task on notch and pre-crack preparation, for accurate assessment of their toughness. Furthermore, it must be observed the ideal specimen dimensions to guarantee plane stress conditions on tensile testing for application of the EWF (Essential Work of Fracture) method. In the present work, the EWF method was employed to evaluate the fracture toughness of PA6 blends modified with ABS and also to assess the efficiency of a self-made reactive acrylic compatibilizer (MMA-MA), on the toughness of the PA6/ABS blend. The EWF parameters have shown that by simply melt blending ABS with PA6 it increases the specific work of fracture owing to reduced notch sensitivity of the blend, although at the expenses of the blend capacity to absorb plastic energy. The addition of the compatibilizer MMA-MA to the blend has been reflected on increments of the specific work of fracture and recovery of the blend capacity to absorb plastic energy. The results have illustrated the applicability of the EWF method for determination of the fracture toughness parameters of polymer blends as well as evaluation of the effect of the reactive MMA-MA compatibilizer on the toughness of the PA6/ABS blend.
Polymer blends; polyamide 6; EWF method; toughness; compatibilizers