Substrate constraint and adhesive thickness effects on fracture toughness of adhesive joints

K. Duan, Xiao Hu, Y.W. Mai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The adhesive thickness effect on fracture behaviour of adhesive joints has been studied using the boundary effect model recently developed for specimen size effect on fracture properties of concrete, and the essential work of fracture model for ligament (uncracked region) effect on large-scale yield of bulk metals and polymers. The leading common mechanism responsible for the nonlinear elastic fracture mechanics behaviours, such as adhesive thickness effect of adhesive joints, specimen size effect of brittle heterogeneous materials and notch dependence of deeply notched metal and polymer specimens, is discussed. These two fracture mechanics models show that the height variation of a fracture process zone (FPZ) or a plastic zone is directly responsible for any change in fracture energy measurements such as the specific fracture energy G(f) and the critical strain energy release rate G(C). Both models show that G(f) is rapidly reduced when the crack-tip approaches the back-face boundary of a specimen because only a limited FPZ or plastic zone height h(FPZ) can be developed in the boundary region. In the case of a thin adhesive joint, the development of a plastic zone height is limited by the thickness of the adhesive sandwiched between the upper and lower adherends or substrates. Consequently, a linear relationship between the adhesive joint toughness and adhesive thickness is established. Test results on adhesive joints from the literature are analysed and compared with the new adhesive joint failure model based on the two well-established fracture mechanics models developed for other material systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-53
JournalJournal of Adhesion Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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