Polymer Engineering Faculty Research

Constitutive behavior and testing of structural adhesives

Erol Sancaktar, The University of Akron


Material characterization of structural adhesives in the bulk and bonded forms is discussed. Constitutive relations used for describing stress–strain data are reviewed. The difficulties associated with adhesive characterization in the bonded form are cited. Common testing procedures for adhesive characterization in the bulk and bonded forms are reviewed. In presenting the constitutive relations used in material characterization of structural adhesives, deformation theories introduced by Hencky are reviewed first. The modifications made in this theory to render it rate dependent and bilinear are discussed and applications to adhesive characterization are cited. Application of linear viscoelasticity, mechanical model characterization, and its use in describing the dependence of adhesive and cohesive strengths on rate, temperature, and bond thickness are presented. The time–temperature superposition principle and three-dimensional stress–strain relations in integral and differential operator forms are reviewed. Frequent assumptions for dilatation and distortion operations are presented. Procedures for describing nonlinear viscoelastic behavior are reviewed. It is pointed out that the extent of nonlinearity is dependent on both the stress level and the time scale. The use of nonlinear spring and dashpot elements, nonlinear differential operators, and perturbation of elastic and viscous coefficients are cited. Prandtl’s incremental theory of plasticity and its extension in the form of over-stress theory is presented. The incorporation of this over-stress idea into the viscoelastic mechanical model characterization is discussed. The modified Bingham model and the Chase–Goldsmith model developed in this fashion and their application to adhesive material characterization are presented. The use of empirical relations for the description of creep behavior is discussed. Prediction of shear behavior based on bulk tensile data is demonstrated. It is suggested that characterization of adhesive behavior in the bonded form should include the application of stress analysis, fracture mechanics, polymer chemistry and surface analysis techniques. In testing bonded samples the use of thick adherend symmetric single lap geometry or napkin ring test geometry is advised and it is suggested that the specimens should be prepared with the same surface preparation and cure techniques.