Life Extension Techniques for Aircraft Structures – Extending Durability and Promoting Damage Tolerance through Bonded Crack Retarders

P.E. Irving, X. Zhang, J. Doucet, D. Figueroa-Gordon, M. Boscolo, M. Heinimann, G. Shepherd, M.E. Fitzpatrick, D. Liljedahl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the viability of the bonded crack retarder concept as a device for life extension of damage tolerant aircraft structures. Fatigue crack growth behaviour in metallic substrates with bonded straps has been determined. SENT and M(T) test coupons and large scale skin-stringer panels were tested at constant and variable amplitude loads. The strap materials were glass fibre polymer composites, GLARE, AA7085 and Ti-6Al-4V. Comprehensive measurements were made of residual stress fields in coupons and panels. A finite element model to predict retardation effects was developed. Compared to the test result, predicted crack growth life had an error range of -29% to 61%. Mechanisms and failure modes in the bonded strap reinforced structures have been identified. The strap locally reduces substrate stresses and bridges the crack faces, inhibiting crack opening and reducing crack growth rates. In the absence of residual stress, global stiffness ratio accounts for effects of both strap modulus and strap cross section area. In elevated temperature cure adhesives, retardation performance was best in aluminium and GLARE strap materials, which have the closest thermal expansion coefficient to the substrate. Strap materials of high stiffness and dissimilar thermal expansion coefficient such as titanium had poor retardation characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICAF 2011 Structural Integrity: Influence of Efficiency and Green Imperatives
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-1663-6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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  • Aerospace Technology and Astronautics
  • Structural Materials
  • Engineering Design
  • Engineering Economics
  • Organization
  • Logistics
  • Marketing
  • Quality Control
  • Reliability
  • Safety and Risk
  • Operating Procedures
  • Materials Treatment


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