Mode I fracture of adhesive joints using tailored cohesive zone models

M. Alfano, F. Furgiuele, A. Leonardi, C. Maletta, G. H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Cohesive zone models are explored in order to study cleavage fracture in adhesive bonded joints. A mode I cohesive model is defined which correlates the tensile traction and the displacement jump (crack faces opening) along the fracture process zone. In order to determine the traction-separation relation, the main fracture parameters, namely the cohesive strength and the fracture energy, as well as its shape, must be specified. However, owing to the difficulties associated to the direct measurement of the fracture parameters, very often they are obtained by comparing a measured fracture property with numerical predictions based on an idealized traction separation relation. Likewise in this paper the cohesive strength of an adhesive layer sandwiched between elastic substrates is adjusted to achieve a match between simulations and experiments. To this aim, the fracture energy and the load-displacement curve are adopted as input in the simulations. In order to assess whether or not the shape of the cohesive model may have an influence on the results, three representative cohesive zone models have been investigated, i.e. exponential, bilinear and trapezoidal. A good agreement between experiments and simulations has been generally observed. However, a slight difference in predicting the loads for damage onset has been found using the different cohesive models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Adhesives
  • Cohesive zone model
  • Cohesive zone model shape
  • Fracture energy


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