Powder Epoxy for One-Shot Cure, Out-of-Autoclave Applications: Lap Shear Strength and Z-Pinning Study

Thomas Noble, James R. Davidson, Christophe Floreani, Ankur Bajpai, William Moses, Thomas Dooher, AT McIlhagger, E Archer, Conchúr M. Ó Brádaigh, Colin Robert

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Large composite structures manufactured out-of-autoclave require the assembly and bonding of multiple parts. A one-shot cure manufacturing method is demonstrated using powder epoxy. Lap shear plates were manufactured from powder epoxy and glass fiber-reinforced plastic with four different bonding cases were assessed: secondary bonding using standard adhesive film, secondary bonding using powder epoxy, co-curing, and co-curing plus a novel Z-pinning method. This work investigates the lap shear strength of the four cases in accordance with ISO 4587:2003. Damage mechanisms and fracture behavior were explored using digital image correlation (DIC) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), respectively. VTFA400 adhesive had a load at break 24.8% lower than secondary bonding using powder epoxy. Co-curing increased the load at break by 7.8% compared to powder epoxy secondary bonding, with the co-cured and pinned joint resulting in a 45.4% increase. In the co-cured and co-cured plus pinned cases, DIC indicated premature failure due to resin spew. SEM indicated shear failure of resin areas and a large amount of fiber pullout in both these cases, with pinning delaying fracture phenomena resulting in increased lap joint strength. This highlights the potential of powder epoxy for the co-curing of large composite structures out-of-autoclave.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Composites Science
Early online date24 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2021


  • co-curing
  • lap shear strength
  • powder epoxy
  • Z-pinning
  • out-of-autoclave manufacturing


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