SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1960

Effect of Environmental Exposure on Adhesive-Bonded Structures


This paper describes a test program conducted by Northrop Corp., the major subcontractor to Raytheon Manufacturing Co. in the development and production of the Army Ordnance Hawk missile airframe. Hawk fins and elevons were subjected to various types of environmental exposure to determine the adequacy of the adhesive bonding. Laboratory specimens were also exposed to provide data on field exposure for comparison with data on laboratory exposed specimens. The environmental evaluation was conducted in three phases: thermal cycling of a Hawk fin and elevon, weathering of Hawk fins and elevons, and weathering of laboratory test specimens. The following environmental conditions were included in the evaluation: humidity up to 100 per cent relative humidity, salt-laden air, tropical conditions other than humidity, and temperature exposure from −80 F to 160 F (extended) and 400 F (short time). The Tropical Exposure Station of the Naval Research Laboratory was selected for field exposure of fins and elevons because the environment of the Panama Canal Zone, where the station is located, is the most severe known. Visual examination and physical testing of the Hawk assemblies and of the laboratory specimens after environmental exposure yielded gratifying results. No serious deleterious effects of weathering in laboratory and field exposures were detected by visual inspection. Physical strength of specimens was also found to be satisfactory after the environmental exposures.

Author Information

Tuckerman, A., J.
Northrop Corporation, Hawthorne, Calif.
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Developed by Committee: D14
Pages: 18–28
DOI: 10.1520/STP46966S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6991-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6576-2