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Correlation of optically stimulated electron emission with failure mode of adhesively bonded epoxy composites

Carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) reduce weight in aerospace and automotive applications while maintaining or improving structural performance. Additional performance gains can be realized with composites if adhesive bonding is used in place of mechanical fasteners for structural assemblies. Surface preparation for adhesive bonding plays a critical role in the assembly process. Effective techniques for monitoring the pre-bonding surface conditions are crucial to obtain surfaces free from bond-degrading contaminants, e.g. mold release agents, which are widely used in CFRP manufacturing. In this work, optically stimulated electron emission (OSEE) was used prior to and after laser ablation to measure deposited levels of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) on CFRP (Torayca P2302-19). OSEE was also used to model the contamination layer thickness. After the specimens were adhesively bonded with a modified epoxy film adhesive (Loctite EA 9696 Aero), they were subjected to double cantilever beam (DCB) tests to investigate the hypothesis that surface contamination species and levels affect the fracture characteristics of adhesively bonded joints. This study relates OSEE photocurrent and the classification of the bond failure modes to their PDMS surface contamination levels prior to adhesive bonding. DCB test results show that (1) the region under the traces within the load and unloading boundaries consistently correlates with the bond strength and the probability of different failure modes, and (2) bond performance at fracture depends on the surface PDMS film thickness coating prior to laser surface treatment. The decrement in bond performance in this study correlates to the OSEE readings of contaminant levels on the adherent surfaces.

» Author: Rodolfo Ledesma, William Yost, Frank Palmieri, Daniel Cataldo, John Connell

» Reference: International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [609203].

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