2D and 3D finite element models, based upon LEFM, have been used to predict the tensile stress distribution along the centreline of adhesively bonded and weld-bonded T-peel joints. It is postulated that there are three separate stages of fatigue growth from a defect within a peel joint: initially embedded and slowest growth within the interior of the bond region followed by a faster phase of growth when the defect breaks out at an exterior surface of the joint and the final stage, which occurs significantly quicker (within at least an order of magnitude fewer fatigue cycles), where the defect advances through the complete length of the peel joint. It is evident from both the numerical and experimental results that joint failure occurs quickly after visible detection of a defect at the exterior surface of a joint. The amount of adhesive in the fillet region is also seen to have a direct influence on the strength of a T-peel joint.
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