This paper firstly reveals that when assessing if a bonded joint meets the certification requirements inherent in MIL-STD-1530D and the US Joint Services Standard JSSG2006 it is necessary to ensure that: (a) There is no yielding at all in the adhesive layer at 115% of design limit load (DLL), and (b) that the joint must be able to withstand design ultimate load (DUL). Secondly, it is revealed that fatigue crack growth in both nano-reinforced epoxies, and structural adhesives can be captured using the Hartman-Schijve crack growth equation, and that the scatter in crack growth in adhesives can be modelled by allowing for variability in the fatigue threshold. Thirdly, a methodology was established for estimating a valid upper-bound curve, for cohesive failure in the adhesive, which encompasses all the experimental data and provides a conservative fatigue crack growth curve. Finally, it is shown that this upper-bound curve can be used to (a) compare and characterise structural adhesives, (b) determine/assess a "no growth" design (if required), (c) assess if a disbond in an in-service aircraft will grow and (d) to design and life in-service adhesively-bonded joints in accordance with the slow-growth approach contained in the United States Air Force (USAF) certification standard MIL-STD-1530D.
- Operational aircraft
- Variability in fatigue crack growth