Investigation of adhesive joining strategies for the application of a multi-material light rail vehicle

Yiding Liu, Craig Carngie, Helen Ascroft, Wenhao Li, Xiao Han, Hua Guo, Darren hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To meet the high demand for lightweight energy-efficient and safe structures for transport applications, a current state-of-the-art light rail vehicle structure is under development that adopts a multi-material design strategy. This strategy creates the need for advanced multi-material joining technologies. The compatibility of the adhesive with a wide range of material types and the possibility of joining multi-material structures is also a key advantage to its success. In this paper, the feasibility of using either epoxy or polyurethane adhesive joining techniques applied to the multi-material vehicle structure is investigated. Importantly, consideration is given to the effect of variation in bond thickness for both families of structural adhesives. Multi-material adhesively bonded single lap joints with different adhesives of controlled bond thicknesses were manufactured and tested in order to experimentally assess the shear strength and stiffness. The torsional stiffness and natural frequency of the vehicle were modelled using a global two-dimensional finite element model (FEM) with different adhesive properties, and the obtained vehicle performances were further explained by the coupon-level experimental tests. The results showed that the vehicle using polyurethane adhesive with a target bond thickness of 1.0 mm allowed for optimal modal frequency and weight reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6991
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number22
Early online date18 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Nov 2021


  • Adhesive bonded joints
  • Finite element model
  • Multi-material light rail vehicle
  • Single lap joint
  • Variation in bond gap


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