Mechanical Characterization of Adhesively Bonded Jute Composite Joints under Monotonic and Cyclic Loading Conditions
Fiber-reinforced composites comprise an important class of lightweight materials which are finding increasing applications in engineering structures including body components of automobiles and aircraft. Traditionally, synthetic fibers made of glass, carbon, etc. along with a polymeric resin have constituted the most common composites. However, due to environmental concern, occupational health safety considerations, higher cost, etc., research has been focused on substituting synthetic fibers, especially glass fibers with safer, economic and biodegradable natural fibers. Due to the ease of availability and affordability in terms of cost, woven jute mats, among a wide variety of natural fiber-based reinforcements, offer a good choice in combination with a suitable resin such as polyester or epoxy for fabrication of composite laminates. In structural applications, joining of parts made of jute fiber-reinforced composites (JFRCs) would be a natural requirement. Alternatives to joining processes for metals such as welding, riveting, etc. are required for composites. A joining process of high potential is adhesive bonding which has the advantages of reducing stress concentration, permitting fastening of dissimilar materials, etc. In the present study, adhesively bonded joints of JFRCs and their mechanical behavior are investigated under quasi-static and cyclic loading conditions. Initially, characterization of substrates is carried out under monotonic loading. This is followed by determination of stress- Strain curves, failure load and mean shear strength of bonded joints as functions of joint curing temperature and overlap length using a two-part structural epoxy adhesive. All tests are carried out according to relevant ASTM standards. It has been observed that higher curing temperatures give rise to only marginally high failure load and mean shear stress at failure compared to curing at room temperature. For a given curing temperature, failure load increases while mean shear strength decreases with respect to overlap length in both types of joints. As fatigue failure is a crucial consideration in design, the behavior of adhesively bonded JFRC joints is studied for the first time under cyclic loading conditions leading to the commonly-used S-N curve for characterization of failure of materials at different loading-unloading cycles. Interestingly, the fatigue strength for infinite life of adhesively bonded JFRC joints turns out to be approximately 30% of the quasi-static strength, a correlation which usually applies to materials in general. The effect of joint overlap length on fatigue life is studied and it is observed that the above relation between fatigue and quasi static strength is retained for different overlap lengths. Additionally, insights are provided into failure modes of joints under different loading conditions and for varying overlap lengths. Various empirical predictors such as exponent, power and hybrid models fitting the S-N curve are obtained and their relative efficacy (in terms of Coefficient of Determination R2, Adjusted-R2, Akaike’s Information Criterion and Residual Sum of Squares) enumerated in prediction of failure load including quasi-static failure load. As numerical simulation is an indispensable tool in designing geometrically complex structures under nonlinear conditions including failure and contact, finite element modeling of JFRC substrates, bulk adhesive and adhesively bonded joints has been investigated using implicit and explicit LS-DYNA solvers. In this context, the effects of various modeling parameters (mesh size and loading rate) and details of constitutive models capable of capturing plasticity and failure in an orthotropic composite and isotropic adhesive are discussed. Mesh size has been found to be an important parameter affecting computed results. Finally, a good correlation within ~(4% - 7%) was found between the predicted and experimental results for JFRC substrates, bulk adhesive and adhesively bonded single lap joints.
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