Effect of Surface Morphology on Crack Growth at a Sol-Gel Reinforced Epoxy/Aluminum Interface.
Chaudhury, Manoj K.
Berry, Douglas H.
Seebergh, Jill E.
Osborne, Joseph H.
Blohowiak, Kay Y.
Journal of Adhesion; May2006, Vol. 82 Issue 5, p487-516, 30p, 7 Diagrams, 5 Charts, 9 Graphs
The Boeing sol-gel conversion coating (Boegel-EPII), derived from an acid-catalyzed aqueous solution of organofunctional silane and zirconium alkoxide precursors, is being used as an adhesion promoter for adhesive bonding and painting applications in the aerospace industry. A unique advantage of the sol-gel process is that strong and durable bonds are produced without the hazardous chemical usage and rinse-water requirements of conventional anodizing or etching processes. In this study, a fracture mechanics method was used to investigate the adhesion properties of sol-gel-reinforced epoxy/aluminum joints. The Hugh Brown asymmetric double cantilever beam (ADCB) wedge test was employed, which allowed the measurements of the critical energy-release rate, subcritical crack-growth kinetics, and threshold energy-release rate on a single sample in a reasonably short period of time. These experiments were carried out with aluminum substrates on which the surface morphology was systematically varied by polishing, sanding, grit-blasting, and chemical etching. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to identify the locus of failure. The surface morphology of the substrates was characterized with SEM, optical profilometry, and spreading kinetics. The macrorough structures drive the crack to within a thin epoxy layer close to the polymer/metal interface, which enhances the initial strength of the sol-gel-reinforced interface. The microroughness of the substrate is, however, more effective than the macroroughness in enhancing the durability. Lastly, an attempt has been made to correlate the energy-release rate with the fractal dimension for sol-gel-reinforced joints with macrorough substrates. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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