Polypropylene (PP) and polypropylene modified with maleic anhydride (MA-PP) reinforced by continuous longitudinal glass fibres have been investigated. The most prominent effect of the modification with maleic anhydride in the composite is a stronger fibre/matrix interface. The effects of interfacial strength on fatigue performance and on the underlying micromechanisms have been studied for these composite systems. Tension-tension fatigue tests (R = 0.1) were carried out on 0 degrees glass-fibre/PP and glass-fibre/ MA-PP coupons. The macroscopic fatigue behaviour was characterized in terms of stiffness reduction and fatigue-life curves. The results showed that the longitudinal Young's modulus degraded more rapidly for glass-fibre/PP, which was caused by a higher degree of damage growth and accumulation. The improvement in monotonic strength was negligible, but the fatigue life was prolonged by about one decade for the composite with the stronger interface by use of the maleic-anhydride grafted polypropylene matrix. During the fatigue testing, the microscopic mechanisms were monitored intermittently by a surface replication technique. From microscopic observations, it could be concluded that the better fatigue resistance of glass-fibre/MA-PP can be attributed to the greater interfacial strength and the resistance to debond propagation. (C) 1999 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.