With recent design developments in the automotive industry, it has become necessary to join dissimilar materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTPs). In this study, a nanospike structure is fabricated on the surfaces of aluminum plates and directly bonded to CFRTP laminates. The effect of the nanospike structure on the adhesion strength is evaluated by single-lap joint tests. It is found that the nanospike structure improves the adhesion strength. Furthermore, combining the nanospike structure with a silane coupling treatment results in failure in the aluminum part of the single-lap specimens with an overlap length of 12.5 mm, rather than in the joined region. The average adhesion strength of the single lap joint specimens with an overlap length of 5.0 mm is found to be 24.9 MPa. Scanning electron microscopy observations of the fracture surfaces of the joined region only showed cohesive failure. On the fracture surface of the CFRTP laminate, the matrix exhibits a hairy structure due to the presence of the nanospike structure in some regions and in other regions carbon fibers are exposed due to adherend failure. Thus, in addition to an improved joint strength, the results suggest that the nanostructure will also improve the fracture toughness by causing ductile failure of the matrix.
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