Fracture mechanics and damage mechanics based fatigue lifetime prediction of adhesively bonded joints subjected to variable amplitude fatigue

The first part of the paper describes an investigation into the behaviour of adhesively bonded single lap joints (SLJs) subjected to various types of variable amplitude fatigue (VAF) loading. It was seen that a small proportion of fatigue cycles at higher fatigue loads could result in a significant reduction in the fatigue life. Palmgren-Miner's damage sum tended to be less than 1, indicating damage accelerative load interaction effects. In the second part of the paper, fracture mechanics (FM) and damage mechanics (DM) approaches are used to predict the fatigue lifetime for these joints. Two FM based approaches were investigated, which differed with respect to the cycle counting procedure, however, both approaches were found to under-predict the fatigue lifetime for all the types of spectra used. This was attributed to the inability of the FM based models to simulate the crack initiation phase. A DM based approach was then used with a power law relationship between equivalent plastic strain and the damage rate. Good predictions were found for most of the spectra, with a tendency to over-predict the fatigue life.