Enhanced Open-Hole Strength and Toughness of Sandwich Carbon-Kevlar Woven Composite Laminates

Mohammad K.A. Khan, Harri Junaedi, Hassan Alshahrani, Ahmed Wagih*, Gilles Lubineau, Tamer A. Sebaey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fiber-reinforced plastic composites are sensitive to holes, as they cut the main load-carrying member in the composite (fibers) and they induce out-of-plane stresses. In this study, we demonstrated notch sensitivity enhancement in a hybrid carbon/epoxy (CFRP) composite with a Kevlar core sandwich compared to monotonic CFRP and Kevlar composites. Open-hole tensile samples were cut using waterjet cutting at different width to diameter ratios and tested under tensile loading. We performed an open-hole tension (OHT) test to characterize the notch sensitivity of the composites via the comparison of the open-hole tensile strength and strain as well as the damage propagation (as monitored via CT scan). The results showed that hybrid laminate has lower notch sensitivity than CFRP and KFRP laminates because the strength reduction rate with hole size was lower. Moreover, this laminate showed no reduction in the failure strain by increasing the hole size up to 12 mm. At w/d = 6, the lowest drop in strength showed by the hybrid laminate was 65.4%, followed by the CFRP and KFRP laminates with 63.5% and 56.1%, respectively. For the specific strength, the hybrid laminate showed a 7% and 9% higher value as compared with CFRP and KFRP laminates, respectively. The enhancement in notch sensitivity was due to its progressive damage mode, which was initiated via delamination at the Kevlar–carbon interface, followed by matrix cracking and fiber breakage in the core layers. Finally, matrix cracking and fiber breakage occurred in the CFRP face sheet layers. The specific strength (normalized strength and strain to density) and strain were larger for the hybrid than the CFRP and KFRP laminates due to the lower density of Kevlar fibers and the progressive damage modes which delayed the final failure of the hybrid composite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2276
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2023


  • fractography
  • hybrid composites
  • mechanical properties
  • notch sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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