The experimental stress analysis technique using the thermoelastic effect is quite recent. Besides being a non-contact method, the technique is able to produce a full field analysis. These attributes, associated with the possibility of application to structures or components in their operating environment, make the technique appealing for use in an industrial context.

The thermoelastic effect is the change in temperature arising from the change in the stress state of a solid. The stress analysis technique using this effect measures the infra-red radiation emitted from a modification in its stress state. The applicability of the relationship between change in temperature and change in the stress state, as described in the theory of thermoelasticity, requires the existence of adiabatic conditions. Thus, the body to be studied must be subjected to a cyclic loading of a frequency sufficient to ensure those conditions.

Adhesives are being used increasingly in more demanding applications not only in non-load carrying situations but also in structural applications as an alternative to other joining techniques. The use of adhesives in structural applications requires understanding the global behavior of structures as well as the behavior of the adhesive connections. Stress analysis of those connections is an important step towards that goal.

Lap-shear joints are a type of adhesive connections widely used in industrial applications, namely, in the aerospace and automotive industries. In this study, stress analyses of these connections were performed.

The experimental stress analysis technique using the thermoelastic effect was used to determine the stress state at a surface of adhesive lap-shear joints. The results were compared with finite element analyses of the same joints.

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