Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 261–271 | Cite as

Using geometric complexity to enhance the interfacial strength of heterogeneous structures fabricated in a multi-stage, multi-piece molding process

  • H. A. Bruck
  • G. Fowler
  • S. K. Gupta
  • T. M. Valentine


Interfaces in heterogeneous structures are typically engineered for optimal strength through the control of surface roughness and the choice of adhesives. Advances in manufacturing technologies are now making it possible to also tailor the geometries of interfaces from the nanoscale to the macroscale to create geometrically complex interfaces that exhibit enhanced performance characteristics. However, the impact of geometric complexity on the mechanical behavior of interfaces has not yet been ascertained. In this investigation, the first step is taken towards understanding the effects of geometric complexity on interfacial strength. A new multi-stage, multi-piece molding process is used to create heterogeneous polymer structures with geometrically complex interfaces consisting of rectangular and circular interlocking features. The structural integrity of these heterogeneous structures is characterized through interfacial tension testing. The full-field deformation measurement technique known as digital image correlation is also used during the testing to visualize the deformation fields around the geometrically complex features. Through this characterization, it is determined that the complex geometries increase the interfacial strength by approximately 20–25%, while reducing the statistical variation by 50%. These effects are attributed to a transition in the failure mechanism from interfacial fracture to homogeneous ligament failure. Results also indicate that geometrically complexity can be used on completely debonded interfaces to increase the strength to at least 25–35% of the bonded interface. Based on these results, some simple design rules have been proposed that enable geometrically complex interfaces to be engineered with enhanced strengths approaching the weaker of the two base materials. These design rules can also be used in the engineering of interfaces to facilitate the development of heterogeneous structures using new design paradigms, such as design for recyclability and the design of products based on bio-inspired concepts.

Key Words

Digital image correlation interfacial fracture mechanics biologically inspired design solid freeform fabrication compliant mechanisms 


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Bruck
    • 1
  • G. Fowler
    • 1
  • S. K. Gupta
    • 1
  • T. M. Valentine
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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