Damage in adhesively bonded CFRP joints : sinusoidal and impact-fatigue

The main aim of this paper is to investigate the behaviour of adhesively bonded CFRP joints subjected to cyclic low-velocity impacts and to compare this with fracture in specimens tested in standard fatigue (i.e. non-impacting, constant amplitude, sinusoidal fatigue). It is seen that the accumulated energy associated with damage in impact-fatigue is significantly lower than that associated with similar damage in standard fatigue and that the mechanisms of failure are very different for the two loading regimes. For both types of loading, fracture initiates in the adhesive layer and then propagates into the 0º ply of the composite adjacent to the adhesive layer. However, the fracture surfaces after impact-fatigue are generally less uniform and exhibit more signs of high rate/brittle fracture than seen in the fracture surfaces after standard fatigue testing. Various parameters are proposed to characterise damage in standard and impact-fatigue and it is shown that crack velocity, accumulated absorbed energy and normalised maximum force are all useful parameters for characterising damage evolution.