Experimental and numerical investigations are carried out on metal/fibregiass-reinforced-plastic joints integrated in electrical insulators subject to bending. Numerical stress and strain distributions through the bond are calculated with a solid 3D finite element model and the damage initiation in the composite is highlighted. The simulations are compared to experimental data obtained from several joint specimens tested under bending on an experimental setup equipped with strain gauges and a six-channel acoustic emission system. Good correlation between the finite element predictions and the test results is found. The investigations have identified the stress concentrations in the rod, the onset of damage when the load-displacement curve characterizing the bending test deviates from linearity, and the different failure mechanisms. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.