A Generalized Cohesive Zone Model of Peel Test for Pressure Sensitive Adhesives
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The peel test is a commonly used testing method for adhesive strength evaluation. The test involves peeling a pressure sensitive tape away from a substrate and measuring the peel force that is applied to rupture the adhesive bond. In the present study, the mechanics of the peel test is analyzed based on a cohesive zone model. Cohesive failure is assumed to prevail in the vicinity of the peel front, that is, the adhesive fails not by debonding from the adherends but by splitting of the adhesive itself. Generally, the failure of the adhesive is accompanied with a process of cavitation and fibrillation. Therefore, the cohesive zone is modeled as a continuous fibrillated region. A Maxwell model is employed to characterize the viscoelastic behavior of the adhesive. The governing equation and boundary conditions that describe the mechanics of the peel test are derived. Numerical results are obtained under steady state conditions. The model predicts the peel force in terms of the peel rate, the peel angle, the nature of the adhesive, and the properties of the backing and the substrate. The traction distribution on the substrate surface is found to depend on various test parameters. Finally, finite element analysis is performed using the commercial software package ABAQUS. The results from FEA are compared with those from the mathematical method to evaluate the validity of the present model. The effective range of the present model is found to be related to the ratio of the critical fibril length to the extent of the cohesive zone. Given the nature of the adhesive as well as the properties of the backing and the substrate, the proposed model is able to predict the peel force and the traction distribution in terms of the peel rate and the peel angle, and thus provides a measure of the strength of the adhesive bond.