Constitutive behaviour and fracture of adhesive layers. Inverse methods and energetic balance
Doktorsavhandling, 2004

In the automobile industry, current demands on reduced emissions with maintained or even increased crash worthiness, forces the industry to seek weight-reducing designs. The possibility to use lightweight materials is obviously attractive. At joints, these lightweight materials have to be connected to high-strength or low-cost materials. In this context adhesive joining can provide a flexible solution. The method adds little weight to the structure, it allows for material combinations that are not possible to weld, and it provides increased stiffness to the structure as compared to the conventional spot-welding procedure. Moreover, electrolytic isolation of the multi-material joints is achieved. In this thesis, experimental methods are developed to determine the complete stress-deformation relation for an adhesive layer loaded in shear. Generally, the stress distribution is non-uniform in the test geometries used. Evaluation of experiments is performed using an inverse method. The idea is to measure the energy release rate as a function of the crack tip deformation. The stress-deformation relation is obtained by a subsequent differentiation. The method is shown to be capable of capturing the complete stress-deformation relation under stable loading conditions. A method to accurately determine the energy release rate is needed for the inverse method to be successful. A closed form expression for the energy release rate of the end-notch flexure adhesive joint specimen (ENF) is derived in this thesis. An approximate formula containing measurable quantities is also given. It is shown that both the applied load and the crack tip deformation are needed to determine the instantaneous value of the energy release rate of the ENF-specimen. Experimental results show that the influence of the crack tip deformation can be substantial. An alternative specimen is also analysed theoretically. An initial theoretical study on mixed mode fracture of adhesive layers is also given in this thesis. A detailed comparison is made of the mode-mixity obtained using two different, frequently used mechanical models; the beam/adhesive layer model, and the continuum model, i.e. a model neglecting the presence of the adhesive layer. It is tempting to assume that the two methods would produce similar results for the case of a thin adhesive layer. However, this is only the case for geometries which are materially and geometrically symmetric with respect to the adhesive layer. For asymmetric joints, on the other hand, the two models are found to predict fundamentally different values of the mode-mixity. Moreover, the mode-mixity of the beam/adhesive layer model is found to depend highly on the relative stiffness of the adherends and the adhesive layer. This dependency is found to be quantified through two parameters.

shear fracture

adhesive layer


constitutive behaviour

inverse solution

experimental method

energy release rate

multi-material joints



Svante Alfredsson

Chalmers, Tillämpad mekanik





Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 2151

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