Co-cured composite joint strength investigation based on behavior characterization of [0/±θ/90]s family
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Joints provide a path for transfer of load and are important components in an assembly of structures, particularly in translating joint strength improvements directly to significant cost savings. This cost savings is more evident in composite joints since manufacturing of more complex single piece components results in a reduction of both part count and labor. An improvement in joint strength for co-cured composite joints through minimized free-edge delamination was investigated for quasi-isotropic [0/±45/90]s lay-up based on the quantitative assessments of the quasi-static and fatigue strength and qualitative understanding of the fatigue damage initiation and propagation for the [0/±θ/90]s family of co-cured composite joints. A previously proposed co-cured joint concept, the Single Nested Overlap (SNO) joint, was compared against a Straight Laminate (SL) and a single lap joint. The SL represents a "perfect" joint and serves as an upper bound whereas the single lap joint represents the simplest generic joint and is the base design for the SNO joint concept. Three categorized failure types, which represented predominant failure modes in the SL, single lap and SNO joints, along with two different fatigue strength indicators were used for quasi-static and fatigue strength comparison. With fatigue run-out defined at 1 x 106 cycles, the fatigue damage initiation and propagation at high loadings was monitored with an Infrared Thermoelastic Stress Analysis (IR-TSA) technique, while a damage type comparison was used at low loadings. Quasi-static Acoustic Emission (AE) counts were observed to be Fatigue Limit (FL) predictors for [0/±θ/90]s SL and SNO joints. The validity of these FL predictors were also assessed in the damage type comparison.