Interlaminar crack initiation and propagation are a major mode of failure in laminate fiber reinforced composites. A laser reinforcement process is developed to bond layers of glass fabric prior to the vacuum-assisted transfer molding of laminate composites. Glass fabric layers are bonded by fusing a dense glass bead to fibers within the laser focal volume, forming a 3D reinforcement architecture. Coupled heat transfer and viscous flow modeling is used to capture the temperature and morphology evolution of glass during the reinforcement process under experimentally observed conditions. Mode I double cantilever beam (DCB) testing is performed to quantify the effects of laser interlaminar reinforcements on composite delamination resistance. Postmortem high-resolution imaging of the fracture surface is used to characterize the toughening mechanism of the interlaminar reinforcements. Improved delamination resistance of laser reinforced composites derives from crack arrest and deflection mechanisms, showing a positive correlation to the reinforcement thickness.

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