Damage characterisation and lifetime prediction of bonded joints under variable amplitude fatigue loading
2009-10-14T14:57:25Z (GMT) by
Adhesive bonding is one of the most attractive joining techniques for any structural application, including high profile examples in the aerospace, automotive, marine construction and electrical industries. Advantages of adhesive bonding include; superior fatigue performance, better stress distribution and higher stiffness than conventional joining techniques. When the design of bonded joints is considered, fatigue is of critical importance in most structural applications. There are two main issues that are of importance; a) in-service damage characterisation during fatigue loading and, b) lifetime prediction under both constant and variable amplitude fatigue loading. If fatigue damage characterisation is considered, there has been some work to characterise damage in-situ using the backface strain (BFS) measurement technique, however, there has been little investigation of the effects of different types of fatigue behaviour under different types of geometry and loading. Regarding fatigue lifetime prediction of bonded joints, most of the work in the literature is concentrated with constant amplitude fatigue, rather than variable amplitude fatigue. Fatigue design of a bonded structure based on constant amplitude fatigue, when the actual loading on the structure is of the variable amplitude fatigue, can result in erroneous lifetime prediction. This is because of load interaction effects caused by changes in load ratio, mean load etc., which can decrease the fatigue life considerably. Therefore, the project aims to a) provide a comprehensive study of the use of BFS measurements to characterise fatigue damage, b) develop novel techniques for predicting lifetime under constant amplitude fatigue and c) provide an insight into various types of load interaction effects. In this project, single lap joints (SLJ) and compound double cantilever beam geometries were used. Compound double cantilever beams were used mainly to determine the critical strain energy release rate and to obtain the relationship between strain energy release rate and fatigue crack growth rate. The fatigue life of SLJs was found to be dominated by crack initiation at lower fatigue loads. At higher fatigue loads, fatigue life was found to consist of three phases; initiation, stable crack propagation and fast crack growth. Using these results, a novel damage progression model was developed, which can be used to predict the remaining life of a bonded structure. A non-linear strength wearout model (NLSWM) was also proposed, based on strength wearout experiments, where a normalised strength wearout curve was found to be independent of the fatigue load applied. In this model, an empirical parameter determined from a small number of experiments, can be used to determine the residual strength and remaining life of a bonded structure. A fracture mechanics approach based on the Paris law was also used to predict the fatigue lifetime under constant amplitude fatigue. This latter method was found to under-predict the fatigue life, especially at lower fatigue loads, which was attributed to the absence of a crack initiation phase in the fracture mechanics based approach. A damage mechanics based approach, in which a damage evolution law was proposed based on plastic strain, was found to predict the fatigue life well at both lower and higher fatigue loads. This model was able to predict both initiation and propagation phases. Based on the same model, a unified fatigue methodology (UFM) was proposed, which can be used to not only predict the fatigue lifetime, but also various other fatigue parameters such as BFS, strength wearout and stiffness wearout. The final part of the project investigated variable amplitude fatigue. In this case, fatigue lifetime was found to decrease, owing to damage and crack growth acceleration in various types of variable amplitude fatigue loading spectra. A number of different strength wearout approaches were proposed to predict fatigue lifetime under variable amplitude fatigue loading. The NLSWM, where no interaction effects were considered was found to over-predict the fatigue life, especially at lower fatigue loads. However, approaches such as the modified cycle mix and normalised cycle mix approaches were found to predict the fatigue life well at all loads and for all types of variable amplitude fatigue spectra. Progressive damage models were also applied to predict fatigue lifetime under variable amplitude fatigue loading. In this case a fracture mechanics based approach was found to under-predict the fatigue life for all types of spectra at lower loads, which was established to the absence of a crack initiation phase in this method. Whereas, a damage mechanics based approach was found to over-predict the fatigue lifetime for all the types of variable amplitude fatigue spectra, however the over- prediction remained mostly within the scatter of the experimental fatigue life data. It was concluded that, the damage mechanics based approach has potential for further modification and should be tested on different types of geometry and spectra.