Composite materials are commonly used in many branches of industry. One of the effective methods to join the carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) parts includes the use of adhesives. There is a search on effective methods for quality assurance of bonded parts. In the research here reported the influence of surface pre-bond modification on the adhesive bonds of CFRP plates has been analyzed. Adherends surface modifications, to include defects affecting the bonding quality, were obtained through surface thermal treatment, surface contamination with de-icing fluid and a combination of both the previously described treatments. Characterization of bonded joints was performed by means of mechanical testing, ultrasounds and electromechanical impedance (EMI) measurements. The study here proposed has also the aim to evaluate the ability of different destructive and non-destructive techniques to assess the quality of the bonds. While mechanical tests were strongly affected by the surface modifications, results obtained ultrasound and EMI test have demonstrate only a limited ability of these techniques to differentiate between the different samples. In fact, ultrasounds did not show any changes in the bondline, due to pre-bond modifications. However, this technique was able to detect delamination in CFRP for one of the samples thermally treated at 280 °C. Electromechanical impedance (EMI) measurements showed similar behavior as mechanical tests for samples thermally treated at 260 °C and 280 °C, and for the sample whose surface modification was made with a combination of thermally and de-icing fluid treatments.
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