Due to the nature of the matrix in carbon fiber-reinforced polymeric composites, conventional methods of joining, such as riveting, bolting or soldering, are not always suitable in structural applications. The preferred method to date is adhesive bonding. The objective of this research is to evaluate the effect of surface pretreatment on the epoxy composite/adhesive interphase. Composite surface pretreatments which were evaluated include grit blasting, peel ply and plasma treatment. The results of lap shear and wedge testing in various environments were correlated to the surface composition after pretreatment, as measured by surface sensitive analytical techniques such as x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, ion scattering spectroscopy, contact angle analysis, profilometry and scanning electron microscopy.
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