Large composite structures manufactured out-of-autoclave require the assembly and bonding of multiple parts. A one-shot cure manufacturing method is demonstrated using powder epoxy. Lap shear plates were manufactured from powder epoxy and glass fibre reinforced plastic with four different bonding cases assessed: secondary bonding using standard adhesive film, secondary bonding using powder epoxy, co-curing and co-curing plus a novel Z-pinning method. This work investigates the lap shear strength of the four cases in accordance with ISO 4587:2003. Damage mechanisms and fracture behaviour were explored using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) respectively. VTFA400 adhesive had a load at break 24.8% lower than secondary bonding using powder epoxy. Co-curing increased the load at break by 7.8% compared to powder epoxy secondary bonding, with the co-cured and pinned joint resulting in a 45.4% increase. In the co-cured and co-cured plus pinned cases, DIC indicated premature failure due to resin spew. SEM indicated shear failure of resin areas and a large amount of fibre pullout in both these cases, with pinning delaying fracture phenomena resulting in increased lap joint strength. This highlights the potential of powder epoxy for the co-curing of large composite structures out-of-autoclave.
- lap shear strength
- powder epoxy