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One of the main setbacks to the use of adhesive joints is their sensitivity to surface quality and preparation, with high strength decreases being reported for contaminated surfaces. This contamination effect can arise from surfactants used to clean lubricants used during substrate machining, which can remain on the bonding area. In this paper, the effect of surfactant contamination on joints with aluminium substrates and a silicone adhesive was studied using a peel test. It was concluded that as the level of contamination applied to the substrate increases, the peel strength of the joint decreases and failure is progressively interfacial. Numerical models were developed to reproduce the experimental results.
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