Fracture characterization of overmold composite adhesion
A general testing approach is presented via a fracture mechanics study on the interfacial delamination behavior in overmolded composite materials using a variant of the double cantilever beam (DCB) geometry. Overmolding, a common injection molding process, is used to fabricate asymmetric DCB test specimens with Lexan™ 3414 resin overmolded onto commercially available TenCate Cetex® FST woven glass fiber/polycarbonate laminates. An analytical beam theory model is employed to partition the planar fracture modes at the overmold interface into mode I and mode II components, which are functions of material properties and relative beam thicknesses. Specimen curvature measurements are integrated into the beam theory model to estimate the residual stress effects on fracture mode mixity. We use the overmold thickness as a tunable variable to control fracture mode mixity, and target near mode I fracture conditions, where we find mode I fracture energy (GIc) values of approximately 1 kJ/m2. Fiber bridging across the failure interface is observed, which is not expected at the nominal polymer/polymer overmold interface. Complementary scanning electron microscopy images of the failure surfaces indicate crack initiation at the overmold interface, followed by a change in locus of failure to the nearby polymer/glass fiber interface in the top layer of the composite laminate. Fiber bridging is observed in all specimens tested over a modest range of mode mixity, including specimens modified to the single leg bending geometry, suggesting that the polymer/glass interface is more susceptible to crack propagation than the desired overmold interface, which likely derives its strength from molecular interdiffusion during the overmolding process.