In aerospace and many types of civil infrastructure applications, the use of adhesive-bonded composite joints have been constantly increasing. In this study, fracture behaviour of adhesively bonded single lap joint (SLJ) with pre-existing damage at the interface of free edge of the top adherend and adhesive along the width of the joint is studied by strain energy release rate (SERR) approach using virtual crack closure technique (VCCT). Adherends are four layered laminated fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) composite plates and each lamina of adherend having either +45° or -45° fiber angle. The distributions of strain energy release rates along the delamination front are predicted by evaluating 3D local displacement fields and reaction forces required to close them, along the delamination length and width. The present investigation reveals that strain energy release rates are not constant along the delamination front, insisting on three dimensional modeling of problem. It is observed that location of damage propagation and mode of failure responsible for damage propagation varies with lay-up sequence of +45° or -45° ply oriented laminas within the top and bottom adherends. Total strain energy release rate (G) values are very high in the SLJs having (+45/-45)s FRP laminated adherends and in the SLJ with (-45/+45)s FRP laminated adherends, when compared with SLJs having (+45/-45)asand/or (-45/+45)as FRP laminated adherends.
Key words: Delamination length, strain energy release rate (SERR), virtual crack closure technique (VCCT), suffix s and as, fiber angle.
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