Composite materials are commonly used in applications with a need for increased strength or reduced weight. The composite structure is often attached using mechanical fasteners, even in cases where adhesive bonding is prevalent. The strength of the composite is typically reduced by large factors in the presence of these stress risers. The following considers the sensitivity of non-traditional layups to stress concentrations in the form of open-hole tension. The effects are described numerically and experimentally using finite element analysis and spatial strain measurements, respectively. Improvements in strength exceeding 10% from this preliminary exercise suggest that tailoring fiber orientations may have potential to minimize the effect of stress concentrations. Consideration of the strain field in the vicinity of the hole showed evidence of damage evolution within approximately 25% UTS for many of the laminates. The maximum strain failure criterion was able to describe the onset of damage or yield for the laminates considered here.

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