Enhancement of fracture toughness in secondary bonded CFRP using hybrid thermoplastic/thermoset bondline architecture

Arief Yudhanto, Mohammed Almulhim, Faisal Kamal, Ran Tao, L. Fatta, M. Alfano, Gilles Lubineau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Structures made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) can be assembled using adhesive bonding. However, such bonding is prone to brittle delamination, and a method to improve delamination resistance is desirable. Here, we propose a technique to introduce crack-arrest features that increase the R-curve response by engineering the adhesive bondline/interface. We specifically designed a wavy net-like thermoplastic insert that was embedded into the thermoset adhesive bondline where the new mechanisms of energy dissipation were generated. We demonstrate that the technique is effective at improving mode I fracture toughness of secondary bonded carbon/epoxy by more than 400%. The hybrid thermoset/thermoplastic bondline architecture was carefully tailored to achieve its best performance. We demonstrate that introducing porosities in the adhesive bondline (by adding a limited amount of thermoset adhesive) further improves the fracture toughness. This toughness improvement originates from the extrinsic toughening of the crack-arrest feature, which is enabled by the insert ductility and microstructures (via strand formation, anchoring and stretching).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108346
JournalComposites Science and Technology
StatePublished - Jul 29 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRG2017
Acknowledgements: The research funding was supported by Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) of KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) under the award number OSR-CRG2017-3388. We also thank COHMAS Laboratory Researchers: Mr. Anh-Quan Vu for assisting preliminary FRT test, Mr. Omar Qahtani for preliminary DCB test and 3D printing and Dr. Ahmed Wagih for Mode II test data.


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