In the last decades, the use of adhesives has rapidly increased in many industrial fields. Adhesive joints are often preferred to traditional fasteners due to the many advantages that they offer. For instance, adhesive joints show a better stress distribution compared to the traditional fasteners and high mechanical properties under different loading conditions. Furthermore, they are usually preferred for joining components made of different materials.
A wide variety of adhesives is currently available: thermoset adhesives are generally employed for structural joints but recently there has been a significant increment in the use of thermoplastic adhesives, in particular of the hot-melt adhesives (HMAs). HMAs permit to bond a large number of materials, including metal and plastics (e.g., polypropylene, PP), which can be hardly bonded with traditional adhesives. Furthermore, HMAs are characterized by a short open time and, therefore, permit for a quick and easy assembly process since they can be easily spread on the adherend surfaces by means of a hot-melt gun and they offer the opportunity of an ease disassembling process for repair and recycle. For all these reasons, HMAs are employed in many industrial applications and are currently used also for bonding polypropylene and polyolefin piping systems.
In the present paper, the dynamic response of single lap joints (SLJ) obtained by bonding together with a polyolefin HMA two polypropylene substrates was experimentally assessed. Quasi-static tests and dynamic tests were carried out to investigate the strain rate effect: dynamic tests were carried out with a modified instrumented impact pendulum. Relevant changes in the joint performance have been put in evidence. Failure modes were finally analysed and compared. A change in the failure mode is experimentally found: in quasi-static tests SLJ failed due to a cohesive failure of the adhesive, whereas in dynamic tests the SLJ failed due to an interfacial failure, with a low energy absorption.