Modified Epoxy Matrix Resins for Reduced Dependence on Redundant Fasteners in Secondary-Bonded Composite Structures
SAMPE 2020 | Virtual Series
In structural bonds, the interface between adherend and adhesive is nearly two-dimensional making it susceptible to minute quantities of contamination that can lead to weak bonds. No methods currently exist to measure the strength of an adhesive bond nondestructively. For these reasons, regulating organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) often require redundant load paths in secondary-bonded, primary-structures to achieve certification for civil transport aircraft. To
... this requirement, manufacturers commonly install redundant fasteners (~10 5 fasteners in a twin-aisle airframe with composite fuselage and wings), which add tremendous complexity, time and cost, and significantly reduce performance of the airframe. Under NASA's Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) Program, the Adhesive Free Bonding of Composites (AERoBOND) project is investigating reformulated aerospace epoxy matrix resins to enable reflow and diffusion of the resin at the interface during a secondary bonding/cure process. The mixing process eliminates the material discontinuity at the interface, thereby removing the dependence of bond performance on adhesion across a nearly two-dimensional boundary. The AERoBOND interface is similar to the interlaminar region formed during a co-cure process, so joint performance depends on the cohesive properties of the matrix resin, which can be measured, inspected non-destructively, and certified for flight with fewer redundant fasteners. This presentation describes the ongoing development of stoichiometrically-offset epoxy resins to control the degree of cure in composite joints and enable interfacial mixing during secondary bonding/curing. Details on the resin formulation, laminate fabrication, and mechanical testing will also be presented. The precracked mode-II fracture toughness measured from preliminary AERoBOND joints was similar for joints fabricated with conventional epoxy matrix materials.