The Plymouth Student Scientist

Document Type

Engineering, Computing and Mathematics Article


Due to the increased application of composite materials in recent years, the process of joining composites to metals has become a key area of interest. As a result, methods to increase the strength of composite-to-metal joints are highly sought after. Since the mechanical behaviour of composite-to-metal joints depends on many manufacturing parameters. An experimental and numerical study into the shear strength behaviour of GFRP-to-aluminium single-lap joints was performed to investigate the effect of four manufacturing parameters, with the aim of optimising shear strength. For one manufacturing parameter, a relatively new joining process, co-curing, is studied, and results are benchmarked against secondary (adhesively) bonded joints. The results of this study provides a better understanding of the co-curing process which will increase the application of co-curing in industry. From the results, an increase in adherend (or substrate) thickness and surface roughness were found to increase joint strength. For certain manufacturing configurations, co-cured joints were similar in strength to adhesively bonded ones. The failure mechanism of the co-cured and adhesively bonded single-lap joints was discussed using stress distributions obtained from finite element analysis (FEA) and fractography. It was found that the failure mechanism of co-cured lap joints was cohesive failure by delamination at the first ply layer of the composite adherend. Adhesively bonded joints failed by a mixture of cohesive failure with peel. Results of this study present how the co-cured joining method can be regarded as a highly efficient manufacturing process, which can be tailored to match the strength of traditional joining methods.

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The Plymouth Student Scientist





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Deposit Date

May 2019

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.