In the context of lightweight structure design for the transportation and robotics industries, new types of composite structures are being developed, in the form of trusses made of fiber-reinforced polymer composite members of small diameter (a few millimeters thick at most). Some concepts of wound trusses can be found in the literature, but in more general cases, for which a predefined wound truss shape is not usable, individual truss members must be joined together. The axial strength of the composite members allow them to carry a high load, and the joints between those members should be strong enough to carry this load as well. With the objective of developing an efficient joint design for an application in thin composite trusses (member thickness ranging from 0.5 to 5 mm), finite element models of several adhesive joint designs were built, and their strengths were compared. The comparison was made using the same joint configuration (number of members, member cross-sectional area, joint dimensions) and loading conditions. Adhesive failure was considered in this study, and the strength of each design was determined from the value of the peak maximum principal strain in the adhesive layer, as this failure criterion is suitable for the toughened adhesive material used in the models. A trade-off between the strength, weight and manufacturability of each joint design was made in order to conclude on their overall performance. Results suggested that, among the joint designs modelled, round-based composite rods inserted in a tubular metallic piece are the most efficient in terms of strength-to-weight ratio.
- Bonded joints
- Carbon fiber reinforced polymer
- Finite element method
- Numerical study