Experimental and finite element studies of thin bonded and hybrid carbon fibre double lap joints used in aircraft structures

Nabil M. Chowdhury, John Wang, Wing Kong Chiu, Paul Chang

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Finite element analysis (FEA) is performed to verify the static and fatigue strength of mechanically fastened, bonded and hybrid double lap joints. These joints are made from thin carbon fibre/epoxy laminates applied in aircraft structures. Several configurations are considered, including variations in rivet array and the addition of bondline defects. Adhesive nonlinear material properties, rivet surface contacts and frictional forces were included in the three-dimensional (3D) Finite Element (FE) models. The Multicontinuum Theory (MCT) is used to simulate the progressive failure process and the stress state for all specimens, whilst the strain energy release rate (SERR) as a function of crack length for bonded and hybrid specimens are also compared. Results have shown the FE models are able to accurately predict the bonded, riveted and hybrid joint strengths. The position of the first row of fasteners is critical in determining the crack growth rate. As the crack enters the fasteners' clamping zone there is a significant drop in SERR resulting in a much slower crack growth rate, therefore increasing the fatigue resistance of the hybrid joint configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233 - 242
Number of pages10
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Carbon fibre
  • Damage tolerance
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Joints/joining

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