Secondarily bonded joints will be required for large, >50 m, modularly constructed composite hull vessels, as opposed to the primary single infusion currently used in smaller hulls. The objective of this study is to characterize the experimental response of and provide documentation for the use of E-glass fiber and epoxy resin composite secondarily bonded joints fabricated using vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding and surface treatment methods common in modular marine construction. Primary single infusion benchmark joints are compared to secondarily bonded joints using four surface treatments: polyamide release-treated peel ply fabric, polyester peel ply fabric, isopropyl alcohol cleaning agent, and acetone cleaning agent. The experimental methods used to compare the surface treatment methods consist of two measuring apparent strength, single lap shear, and cleavage peel experimentation, and one measuring Mode I interlaminar fracture toughness, using the double cantilever beam experimental method. The investigation results concerning the surface treatments indicate the use of polyester peel ply over polyamide peel ply and isopropyl alcohol over acetone as a surface cleaning agent. The investigation concerning the experimentation methods indicates the acceptable use of a single-sided lap shear to determine statistically significant variations between surface treatments. Single primary infusion joints showed less variation and higher characteristic values than secondarily bonded joints.
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