The current trend shows an increasing demand for composites due to their high stiffness to weight ratio and the recent progress in manufacturing and cost reduction of composites. To combine high strength and stiffness in a cost-effective way, composites are often joined with steel or aluminum. However, joining of thermoset composite materials is challenging because circular holes are often used to join them with their metal counterparts. These design based circular holes induce high stress concentration around the hole. The purpose of this paper is to focus on layup configuration and its impact on notch stress distribution. To ensure high quality and uniformity, the holes were machined by a 5 kW continuous wave (cw) CO2
laser. The stress distribution was evaluated and compared by using finite element analysis and Lekhnitskii’s equations. For further understanding, the notch strength of the laminates was compared and strain distributions were analyzed using the digital image correlation technique.
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