2010 Volume 4 Issue 7 Pages 963-973
To improve the strength of adhesively bonded composite joints, surface modification of composites by nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is investigated. Since microstructures can be fabricated during the curing of composites, this technique reduces the time required and costs involved in conventional surface preparation such as chemical etching or sand blasting. Since structural adhesives are susceptible to peeling, a pyramidal microstructure is chosen for the surface modification pattern. Such a pattern divides the stress at the interface into peel and shear components; thus, the apparent joint strength is greater than that of an untreated joint with a flat surface. We fabricated the pyramidal microstructure on carbon fiber reinforced plastic and determined the adhesive strength both analytically and experimentally. In the analysis, interfacial stresses were calculated using the finite element method and the interfacial fracture was defined using the peel and shear mixed-mode criterion based on the average stress criterion. In the experiment, tensile butt joint tests were performed for NIL and untreated joints and the apparent strengths were measured. The NIL joint was found to be 52% stronger than the untreated joint according to the finite element method calculation and 67% stronger according to the tensile tests.