Characterization of the durability of adhesive bonds

Susan Pitt, Rhys Jones, Daren Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The deterioration of adhesive bonds as a result of exposure to aggressive service environments is a problem for both metallic and composite bonded joints in aircraft structures. In this context airworthiness issues arising from the in service growth of small naturally occurring defects in adhesively bonded repairs has led to the need to develop a fracture mechanics based approach for setting the inspection intervals associated with the growth of such naturally occurring defects. This involves issues associated with both durability and damage tolerance that are associated with such small defects because it is well known that, for metals, the use of long crack data can lead to erroneous non-conservative estimates. As such a means for assessing the issues related to such small naturally occurring defects is urgently needed. In this context the BoeingWedge test, and its related variants, plays a central role in not only qualitatively assessing environmental performance but also in ranking surface treatments. However, this method has the problem that the initial defect introduced during wedge testing may not be representative of the small initial defects that can arise in service. Thus the relative ranking of various surface treatments obtained using wedge tests may be misleading. To this end, the paper presents a simple fracture mechanics based method that has the potential to account for the discrepancy in the initial defect size. This approach resembles crack growth laws developed to account for the growth of both long and short cracks in metals, environmentally enhanced crack growth in metals and delamination growth in composites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1006
Number of pages9
JournalFatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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