Bonded lap joints of composite laminates with tapered edges

Erkan Oterkus, Atila Barut, Erdogan Madenci, Stanley Smeltzer, Damodar Ambur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents a semi-analytical solution method to analyze the geometrically nonlinear response of bonded composite lap joints with tapered and/or non tapered adherend edges under uniaxial tension. The solution method provides the transverse shear and normal stresses in the adhesives and in-plane stress resultants and bending moments in the adherends. The method utilizes the principle of virtual work in conjunction with von Karman’s nonlinear plate theory to model the adherends and the shear lag model to represent the kinematics of the thin adhesive layers between the adherends. Furthermore, the method accounts for the bilinear elastic material behavior of the adhesive while maintaining a linear stress–strain relationship in the adherends. In order to account for the stiffness changes due to thickness variation of the adherends along the tapered edges, the in-plane and bending stiffness matrices of the adherents are varied as a function of thickness along the tapered region. The combination of these complexities results in a system of nonlinear governing equilibrium equations. This approach represents a computationally efficient alternative to finite element method. The numerical results present the effects of taper angle, adherend overlap length, and the bilinear adhesive material on the stress fields in the adherends, as well as the adhesives of a single- and double-lap joint.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1489
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • composite laminates
  • adherends
  • bonded lap joints


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