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R Soc Open Sci. 2018 Mar 21;5(3):171272. doi: 10.1098/rsos.171272. eCollection 2018 Mar.

A study of laser surface treatment in bonded repair of composite aircraft structures.

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Aviation Engineering Institute, Civil Aviation Flight University of China, Guanghan 618307, People's Republic of China.


Surface pre-treatment is one of the key processes in bonded repair of aircraft carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites. This paper investigates the surface modification of physical and chemical properties by laser ablation and conventional polish treatment techniques. Surface morphology analysed by laser scanning confocal microscopy and scanning electron microscopy showed that a laser-treated surface displayed higher roughness than that of a polish-treated specimen. The laser-treated laminate exhibited more functional groups in the form of O 1 s/C 1 s atomic ratio of 30.89% for laser-treated and 20.14% for polish-treated as evidenced by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy observation. Contact angle goniometry demonstrated that laser treatment can provide increased surface free energy and wettability. In the light of mechanical interlocking, molecular bonding and thermodynamics theories on adhesion, laser etching process displayed enhanced bonding performance relative to the polishing surface treatment. These properties resulted in an increased single lap shear strength and a cohesive failure mode for laser etching while an adhesive failure mode occurred in polish-treated specimen.


bonded repair; carbon fibre reinforced polymer; interface; laser surface treatment

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