In many applications, the use of thick laminate composites is required. As in the case of composite hulls for armored and ground vehicles, in which cases the requirement for ballistic performance is the dominating design factor for the construction of the composite laminates. Very thick composite laminates (exceeding 2.54 cm) are usually used. However, fabricating large vehicles using a single piece places severe constraints on manufacturing. There is a great need in the development of joints for joining thick sections of composite laminates. Qualified joints make it possible to fabricate the vehicle in partial sections using RTM fabrication process. In this study, several designs of thick laminated joints are described. Two joints were studied, analyzed by finite element model, and tested to validate their performance. Test programs were also used to determine data for use in the finite element analysis for both the adhesives and composites. Standard failure tests, test after exposure to long duration of water immersion, to high and low temperatures, and to other conditions are described in this paper. A high-performance adhesive was selected to withstand loads that caused failure in the sub-laminate composites before any failure in the adhesive. As demonstrated in nearly all the joint tests, this is the case. Therefore, the joint design is expected to meet all of the requirements.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.