A Backface Strain Technique for Detecting Fatigue Crack Initiation in Adhesive Joints

Zhehua Zhang, J. K. Shang, F. V. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new backface strain technique was developed to detect fatigue crack initiation in adhesive-bonded lap joints. The technique was based on the special strain distribution in single lap joints and detected the fatigue crack initiation by the switch in the direction of the strain variation. Use of this technique not only permits the determination of fatigue crack initiation life in the joint, but also allows the site of crack initiation to be located. With the assistance of this new backface strain technique, a fatigue crack was found to initiate in the adhesive but to propagate towards the interface to continue its growth on the interface and to cause the final separation of the joint along the interface. Measurements of fatigue crack initiation lives at different stress levels indicate that the adhesive-controlled crack initiation took an increasingly greater proportion of the total fatigue life as the stress decreased, so that the lifetime in the long-life regime was dominated by the resistance of the adhesive to fatigue crack initiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Adhesion
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • SEM
  • backface strain
  • crack initiation life
  • finite element method
  • lap joint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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