It is well known that adhesive joints have their optimum strength for thin bondline thicknesses (0.1–0.5 mm). The most common analytical methods used for adhesive joint analysis show an improved strength with increasing bondline thickness. This erroneous trend in prediction is investigated in this article. It is found that the through-the-thicknessstress distribution in the adhesive is the main cause for the errors. The stresses, both peel and shear, at the interface between the adhesive and the adherend are found to increase, after an initial decrease in the low bondline thickness range, with increasing bondline thickness while the average stresses decrease. This trend explains the trends found in experiments. Further, as experimental results have shown, a theoretical optimum bondline thickness is found.
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