A feasibility study of the acousto-ultrasonic technique to assure the quality of adhesively bonded sheet metal

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Virginia Tech

This thesis contains the results of Phase-1 of a project funded by Ford Motor Company. The objective is to study the feasibility of Acousto-Ultrasonics (AU) as a nondestructive technique for assuring the quality of adhesively bonded sheet-metal used for automobiles. Other nondestructive (NDT) techniques were also applied viz., ultrasonics. radiography and thermography to supplement and verify the results of the AU technique.

The AU Technique demonstrated the best results in terms of its sensitivity to the variations in the properties of the interface. Regions having kissing bonds or regions lacking adhesive were easily identified by this technique. These regions contribute to the mixed mode failure. A bond quality (BQ) model is suggested to take into account the mixed mode failure. Destructive testing results show fairly consistent correlation of BQ values with the breaking strength of the adhesive joint failing in mixed mode failure. The BQ values were calculated from the SWF (stress wave factor) values generated by the AU technique.

No correlation was observed between the SWF values and the breaking strengths of the bonds failing cohesively. Cohesive failures occur at higher loads than those for mixed mode failures. These are, of course, governed by the maximum possible strength of a joint. More work needs to be done to develop a better way to analyze signals for differentiating total cohesive failure, at least for academic interest.

The results strongly suggest the potential of this technique for quantitative evaluation of such types of bonding. Automation of this technique can be developed for application on the assembly line of the motor-car industry. Future work to make this technique more efficient and sensitive is suggested.