Evaluation of mechanical and laser surface pre-treatments on the strength of adhesive bonded steel joints for the automotive industry
Recent research efforts in the automotive industry have been focused on the integration of high-strength steels within lightweight vehicles by using improved joining techniques. The present work falls in this subject area and is focused on the analysis of adhesive bonded dual-phase steel/epoxy joints for the automotive industry. Two quasi-static loadcases were considered, i.e. single-lap and T-peel tests, and various surface preparation strategies were evaluated. In particular, the mating surfaces were pre-treated by using pulsed laser irradiation with a fiber laser (1064 nm) and comparisons were made with degreasing and sand blasting. Moreover, the effects of bondline thickness and adhesive type were also assessed. To this aim, two epoxy adhesives with fairly different mechanical behavior (i.e. strain hardening versus elasto-plastic) were deployed for joints fabrication. Finally, T-peel tests were also carried out after sample cycling under controlled high humidity and temperature (i.e. accelerated aging). The obtained results highlighted the beneficial effect of laser irradiation on the joints' mechanical behavior under both static and hydrothermal loadings.