Fabrication, testing and analysis for non-destructive inspection of bonded composite joints

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McCracken, Michael Thomas
Ruzzene, Massimo
Zhang, Chuck
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Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) has risen in usage among many industries including aerospace, automotive, and wind energy. CFRP is used structurally due to its light weight, corrosion resistance, and mechanical properties. However, there are large differences between CFRP and conventionally used metals. One major issue with using CFRP is creating a reliable bonded joint for joining and repair applications during both manufacturing and services/maintenance. For various reasons, using conventional fasteners is not desirable for creating CFRP joints. Instead, adhesives are widely used to bond CFRP to other materials. Adhesive bonding is not nearly as well understood as conventional fastening. Because adhesives are not well understood, it is difficult to determine how reliable an adhesively bonded joint is. One effective way of assessing the bond reliability is through non-destructive inspection (NDI). There are currently no effective NDI methods available for detecting a “kissing bond,” a bond that has physical contact with the adherend, but very little interfacial strength. Kissing bonds form unexpectedly and can cause a disbond under loads much smaller than expected. In order to study kissing bonds and their detection, these weakened bonds must be reliably fabricated in a controlled environment. In order for NDI detection of kissing bonds to be studied effectively, it must be tested on bonded joints which have been fabricated in a controlled manner. This thesis presents a method of controlled fabrication which can produce reliably strong and weak kissing bonds, specifically for the purpose of NDI research in mind.
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