This paper presents the effect of addition of nano-alumina particles on the fracture properties of glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) composite laminates. Epoxy resin is the most commonly used polymer matrix for advanced composite materials in view of its ability to adhere to a wide variety of fillers; on curing, they provide excellent stiffness and dimensional stability. However the highly cross linked epoxy often behaves undesirably brittle, because, plastic deformation is constrained, leading to poor resistance to crack initiation and propagation. Hence it is necessary to improve the toughness without sacrificing the other important mechanical and thermal properties. In this work, glass-fiber-reinforced composite with nano-alumina modified epoxy matrix was successfully produced with a hand lay-up process and characterized by EDAX and XRD technique for its composition. The experimental results show that the composites exhibited improvements in inter-laminar toughness values (GIC and GIIC) along with improvements in other mechanical properties, especially in toughness related properties. The Mode-I interlaminar fracture toughness for 2 phr (per hundred gram resin) nano-alumina was 2.5 times higher than that of unfilled epoxy and the Mode-II inter-laminar fracture toughness improved by 37%. The significant increase in Mode-I fracture toughness and improvement in Mode II inter-laminar fracture toughness resulting from the nano-particle modification, indicates a pronounced increase in matrix toughness. Impact tests suggest that the energy absorption capability of the GFRP considerably improved with the addition of equi-axed nano-alumina particles with epoxy resin. The laminate and fracture surface morphology analysis was done to understand the fracture and toughening mechanisms behind these property changes. The bending characteristic such as ILSS and Flexural properties recorded the maximum improvements of 14% and 17% respectively for the laminate with nano-alumina modified epoxy. A significant improvement in flexural modulus of over 37% was noticed with respect to unmodified epoxy. The experimental results show that the tensile modulus exhibited 15% improvement compared to laminate without nano-alumina, while, a modest change was observed in the tensile strength.

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