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I’m doing a research project which involves rubber toughening - the particular example I'm looking at is the toughening of SAN polymer (styrene-acrylonitrile) with polybutadiene to make ABS. What I'm looking for is a description of why the process makes the material tougher, whereas everything I can find online seems to be research about the effects of different factors on the toughness. If anyone could provide a source that would be great.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you need to be much more specific about what kind of "rubber." $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 17 '17 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Chemistry.SE! At this point I recommend taking the short tour of the site. As stated in another comment, you will need to be more specific about what you are really looking for in order to get a useful answer. $\endgroup$ – airhuff Feb 17 '17 at 21:24
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I think this Wikipedia article answers your question quite directly:

"This important property [rubber toughening] is entirely due to the small rubbery domains that aid in arresting crack propagation, thereby increasing toughness/energy needed to break the material."

The same article gives an example using the materials sited in your post:

"Well-known rubber toughened polymers include high impact polystyrene (HIPS), rubber-toughened nylon, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). In HIPS, polybutadiene domains are dispersed in a polystyrene matrix; in rubber-toughened nylon, typically cis-polyisoprene is dispersed in a Nylon matrix; in ABS, polybutadiene domains are again used, but for both polystyrene and acrylonitrile."

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