A Finite Element Model for Predicting the Static Strength of a Composite Hybrid Joint with Reinforcement Pins

Francesco Bianchi, Yiding Liu, Adam M. Joesbury, David Ayre, Xiang Zhang

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This paper presents a finite element model for predicting the performance and failure behaviour of a hybrid joint assembling fibrous composites to a metal part with reinforcement micro pins for enhancing the damage tolerance performance. A unit-strip model using the cohesive elements at the bond interface is employed to simulate the onset and propagation of debonding cracks. Two different traction–separation laws for the interface cohesive elements are employed, representing the fracture toughness properties of the plain adhesive bond and a pin-reinforced interface, respectively. This approach can account for the large-scale crack-bridging effect of the pins. It avoids using concentrated pin forces in the numerical model, thus removing mesh-size dependency, and permitting more accurate and robust computational analysis. Lap joints reinforced with various pin arrays were tested under quasi-static load. Predicted load versus applied displacement relations are in good agreement with the test results, especially for the debonding onset and early stage of crack propagation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3297
Number of pages16
Issue number9
Early online date22 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/)


The research was performed at Cranfield University. It was funded by the EPSRC through the Cranfield University Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre project “Bridging the Divide” (IMRC153), in collaboration with Airbus, BAE Systems and GKSS (now Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon GmbH).


  • composite hybrid joints
  • pin-reinforcement
  • static strength
  • FEA
  • experiment


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