National Physical Laboratory

Characterising strength of adhesion.


Duncan, B C, Broughton, W R

Measurement Good Practice Guide No. 72, 2004
NPL Doc. Ref:
PDB: 4175
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Note: An asterisk after an author's name indicates a non-NPL author.


The design of adhesively bonded structures requires accurate material property data. These data are often best obtained from bulk test specimens. Such data can give an indication of the cohesive strength of the materials but designers also need to consider the strengths of the interfaces between the adhesive and substrates. Information on interface strengths is normally obtained from adhesives joint tests. However, the complexity of stress distributions in bonded joints leads to difficulties in obtaining quantitative interface strengths that are applicable to other loading configurations. As part of a DTI funded Measurements for Materials Systems project, Interfacial Adhesion Strength, a number of test methods for adhesion strength were studied as methods for quantifying adhesion strength. These test methods have been evaluated, in experimental and Finite Element (FE) studies, for their ability to quantify the strength of adhesion between adhesive and adherend. The properties of the surfaces being bonded are critical for the manufacture of strong, durable adhesive bonds. Techniques for inspecting surfaces have been assessed as part of this work. There is no universal surface or adhesion test suitable for all situations – methods need to be selected on the basis of the materials (adherend and adhesive), expected structural loading and service conditions, degree of accuracy required and budget (time and cost) for the assessment. Guidance is given to the selection and use of surface characterisation and adhesion strength test methods.

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