The apparent stiffness of a thick adhesive layer in a butt joint is studied for adhesive materials with elastic-plastic material behavior. The finite element method was used for the determination of the joint stiffness as a function of the nominal strain. It was found that the stiffness obtained for the linear elastic case agreed with linear elastic solutions from the literature. Due to plasticity starting at the intersection of the adhesive and the adherend, the apparent stiffness of the adhesive layer decreases. The apparent stiffness reduction was not noticed below a nominal strain level of 0.5%.
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