Effect of salt spray ageing on the fracture of composite-to-metal bonded joints

M.M. Arouche, M.N. Saleh, S. Teixeira de Freitas, S. de Barros

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This work investigates the effect of long-term environmental exposure on the performance of composite-to-metal bonded joints. Specimens are manufactured using a carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) co-bonded to a steel member with epoxy adhesive and aged in a salt spray chamber. The mixed-mode fracture behavior of the non-aged and aged specimens is assessed using the mixed-mode bending (MMB) test apparatus. The fracture energy is calculated using the finite elements method and an analytical approach, the strain-based method (SBM). The SBM showed to be a simple and accurate method to obtain the total fracture energy and the fracture mode ratio of the bi-material specimen. Ageing increased the fracture toughness at crack initiation by 27% for specimens loaded at 20% mode II and 7% for specimens loaded at 15% mode II. This can be related to the shear behavior and plasticization of the adhesive material. During crack propagation, the fracture toughness remained similar for specimens loaded at 20% mode II and decreased by 15% in specimens loaded at 15% mode II. Fractography analysis together with chemical characterization showed that the penetration of moisture at the edges of the fracture surface produced adhesive failure in these regions affected by moisture. Moreover, the failure mode at the unaffected regions of the fracture surface shifted from cohesive to a combination of thin-layer cohesive and adhesive failure after ageing. The results contributed to describe the effect of ageing on the fracture behavior of bonded materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102885
Pages (from-to)102885
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • fracture toughness
  • bi-material bonded joints
  • adhesion
  • fractography
  • ageing
  • Bi-material bonded joints
  • Ageing
  • Adhesion
  • Fractography
  • Fracture toughness


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