Parametric study of size, curvature and free edge effects on the predicted strength of bonded composite joints

Yiding Liu, Stuart Lemanski, Xiang Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)
    188 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper presents the effects of size, curvature and free edges of laboratory lap joints on the debond fracture behaviour of joints that more realistically represent fuselage skin structures than conventional flat, narrow specimens. Finite Element Analysis is used in conjunction with Cohesive Zone Modelling (CZM) to predict the
    strength of selected joint features. The modelling approach was verified by simple single lap joint geometry. Four realistic joint features were then modelled by this validated modelling approach. The results show that moderate curvature has negligible effect on the peak load. There is a significant difference in the load vs displacement response of flat lab coupon joints with free edges and realistic curved joints with constrained edges. Further detail design features were investigated in this study, including (i) the joint runout and (ii) the presence of initial damage (thumbnail delamination). The modelling results show that the joggle configuration has an effect on the distribution of interlaminar stresses that affect the damage initiation and propagation. Fracture behaviour from different initial crack geometries associated with wider specimens has been simulated. From a design standpoint, an expansion of modelling capability is suggested to reduce the number of component tests in the traditional test pyramid.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)364-373
    Number of pages10
    JournalComposite Structures
    Early online date13 Feb 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018

    Bibliographical note

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Composite Structures. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Composite Structures, Vol 202, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2018.02.017

    © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


    • Aircraft composites
    • Bonded joints
    • Debond fracture
    • Design study
    • Finite element analysis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Engineering(all)


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