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The Primary Adhesively Bonded Structure Technology (PABST) program was a U.S. Air Force sponsored program started in Feb. 1975 for the purpose of validating the use of adhesive bonding to join primary aircraft fuselage structural members. This paper will report on the analysis and component testing performed during the design development phase of the program, and the successful full-scale fuselage durability and damage tolerance test that was performed to four design lives. The goal of the program was to provide a savings of 20 percent on the acquisition and maintenance cost relative to mechanically fastened primary structure. Such effects as manufacturing quality, environment exposure, and a unique design criterion for bonded structure have significant impact on analysis methods. The initial development test program and results led to new testing techniques required for bonded joints to gain early design information. This is shown to be especially true for pressurized structure due to the unique behavior of metal crack propagation in this type structure. The full-scale fuselage test results and analysis correlation will be discussed as will the expanded purpose of the damage tolerance phase of this test and resulting demonstrations of crack containment within a stiffened skin panel under full cabin pressure.
adhesive bonding, primary structure, crack propagation, bond flaw, durability, environmental exposure
Chief Engineer, PABST Program, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.