Effects of ply-specific laser treatment on mechanical strength of composite scarf joints

  • Jassem A. Al Yousef

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) is widely used in the industrial world due to its high strength-to-weight ratio. Aerospace manufacturers incorporate CFRP into the main structure of their flight vehicles. The extensive use of CFRP sparks the interest in efficient methods for manufacturing and repair. One of the most used repair methods is the bonded joint method, which includes different types of joints, e.g. scarf joint, step joint and single-lap joint. Scarf joint is generally selected for repair method due to its derived outcome. To improve strength of the bonded joint, the mating adherend surfaces are usually treated before being bonded. This treatment aims to enhance the mechanical interlocking and absorption properties between adhesive and adherend. Manual or electrical sanding is a standard method currently used in the industry. Recently, laser treatment is of high interest due to its potential for an automated process and consistent results. Laser treatment is usually preformed uniformly across the CFRP, regardless of the stacking sequence. This process may introduce local enhancement in some ply orientations, but also damage in other plies. This work investigates the effect of local (ply-specific) treatment on the scarf joint strength of CFRP. Effects of laser fluence (energy density) on treated ply were evaluated using surface characterization methods, viz. optical microscopy, profilometry and sessile drop technique. Finally, tensile test was performed on CFRP scarf joint. Results show that ply-specific laser treatment improves the tensile strength of CFRP scarf joint. The treatment offers localized enhancement to the surface properties and bonding strength, which results in overall tensile strength improvement.
Date of AwardJun 2021
Original languageEnglish (US)
SupervisorGilles Lubineau (Supervisor)


  • scarf joint
  • laser treatment
  • CFRP
  • tensile strengths
  • bouded
  • composites

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