A geometrically nonlinear finite-element analysis of cohesive failure in typical joints is presented. Cracked-lap-shear joints were chosen for analysis. Results obtained from linear and nonlinear analysis show that nonlinear effects, due to large rotations, significantly affect the calculated mode I, crack opening, and mode II, inplane shear, strain-energy-release rates. The ratio of the mode I to mode II strain-energy-release rates (GI/GII) was found to be strongly affected by the adhesive modulus and the adherend thickness. GI/GII ratios between 0.2 and 0.8 can be obtained by varying adherend thickness and using either a single or double cracked-lap-shear specimen configuration. Debond growth rate data, together with the analysis, indicate that mode I strain-energy-release rate governs debond growth. Results from the present analysis agree well with experimentally measured joint opening displacements.

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