Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Shankar Mall, PhD


his research investigated the fatigue response of precracked 558 x 177.8 x 6.35 mm (22.0 x 7.0 x 0.25 in) 2024-T351 aluminum panels repaired with single-sided partially bonded, unidirectional, eighteen ply boron/epoxy reinforcements. Disbonds were introduced into the bondline of each repair during the adhesion process using teflon inserts. Five different disbond configurations, with varying disbond locations and sizes, were tested. Each repaired panel was subjected to constant amplitude cyclic fatigue loading with a maximum stress of 120MPa. Results from the different configurations were compared against one another and against repaired panels with no debonds to assess the effect of disbonds on repair life. Results from the experimentation showed that even in the case of very large disbonds (20% of total bond area), the bonded repairs significantly extended the lives of the cracked panels. Disbond configurations with disbonds located away from the crack in the aluminum panel, performed comparably to the repaired panel with no disbonds. Disbond configurations with disbonds covering the crack in the aluminum panel yielded slightly lower lives than those obtained from repaired panels with no disbonds. Cyclic fatigue loading caused no increase in size of the artificially induced disbonds. Cyclic disbond growth was observed in the immediate vicinity of the crack. Finite element analysis using the Three Layer Technique was performed to assess the ability of current modeling techniques in predicting the life of cracked thick aluminum panels repaired with composite patches. Results from the finite element analysis were shown to very closely match experimental data.

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DTIC Accession Number



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