Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 43, Issue 20, pp 6704–6713 | Cite as

Mixed-mode crack growth in bonded composite joints under standard and impact-fatigue loading

  • Ian A. Ashcroft
  • Juan Pablo Casas-Rodriguez
  • Vadim V. Silberschmidt
Stretching the Endurance Boundary of Composite Materials: Pushing the Performance Limit of Composite Structures


Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) are now well established in many high-performance applications and look set to see increased usage in the future, especially if lower cost manufacturing and solutions to certain technical issues, such as poor out-of-plane strength, can be achieved. A significant question when manufacturing with CFRP is the best joining technique to use, with adhesive bonding and mechanical fastening currently the two most popular methods. It is a common view that mechanical fastening is preferred for thicker sections and adhesive bonding for thinner ones; however, advances in the technology and better understanding of ways to design joints have lead to increasing consideration of adhesive bonding for traditionally mechanically fastened joints. In high-performance applications fatigue loading is likely and in some cases repetitive low-energy impacts, or impact fatigue, can appear in the load spectrum. This article looks at mixed-mode crack growth in epoxy bonded CFRP joints in standard and impact fatigue. It is shown that the back-face strain technique can be used to monitor cracking in lap-strap joints (LSJs) and piezo strain gauges can be used to measure the strain response of impacted samples. It is seen that there is significant variation in the failure modes seen in the samples and that the crack propagation rate is highly dependent on the fracture mode. Furthermore, it is found that the crack propagation rate is higher in impact fatigue than in standard fatigue even when the maximum load is significantly lower.



The authors are very grateful for a partial financial support by the Royal Society within the framework of its International Joint Projects scheme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian A. Ashcroft
    • 1
  • Juan Pablo Casas-Rodriguez
    • 1
  • Vadim V. Silberschmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringLoughborough UniversityLeicestershireUK

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