Moisture absorption-desorption effects in adhesive joints

This paper presents a study of moisture absorption-desorption effects in single lap adhesive joints. Experiments were carried out to characterise the moisture uptake of the single part epoxide adhesive, FM73. Tensile testing of single lap joints manufactured from aluminium alloy 2024 T3 and O and FM73 adhesive was carried out after the joints were exposed to different conditioning environments. The experimental results revealed that the failure strength of the single lap joints with 2024 T3 adherends progressively degraded with time when conditioned at 50°C, immersed in water. However, the joint strength almost completely recovered after moisture was desorbed. The single lap joints with 2024 O adherends showed decreased strength for 28 days of conditioning, after which strength recovered, reaching a plateau after 56 days. Again, strength almost completely recovered on desorption of moisture. The strength recovery of the joints, after desorption of moisture, showed that the degradation of the adhesive was largely reversible. Analysis of the failure surfaces revealed that the dry joints failed cohesively in the adhesive layer and that the failure path moved towards the interface after conditioning. The failure mode then reverted back to cohesive failure after moisture desorption.