Flexural response of inorganic hybrid composites with E-glass and carbon fibers

James W. Giancaspro, Christos G. Papakonstantinou, P. N. Balaguru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


By far, carbon and glass fibers are the most popular fiber reinforcements for composites. Traditional carbon composites are relatively expensive since the manufacturing process requires significant heat and pressure, while the carbon fibers themselves are inherently expensive to produce. In addition, they are often flammable and their use is restricted when fire is a critical design parameter. Glass fabrics are approximately one order of magnitude less expensive than similar carbon fabrics. However, they lack the stiffness and the durability needed for many high performance applications. By combining these two types of fibers, hybrid composites can be fabricated that are strong, yet relatively inexpensive to produce. The primary objective of this study was to experimentally investigate the effects of bonding high strength carbon fibers to E-glass composite cores using a high temperature, inorganic matrix known as geopolymer. Carbon fibers were bonded to E-glass cores (i) on only the tension face, (ii) on both the tension and compression faces, or (iii) dispersed throughout the core in alternating layers to obtain a strong, yet economical, hybrid composite laminate. For each response measured (flexural capacity, stiffness, and ductility), at least one hybrid configuration displayed mechanical properties comparable to all carbon composite laminates. The results indicate that hybrid composite plates manufactured using 3k unidirectional carbon tape exhibit increases in flexural capacity of approximately 700% over those manufactured using E-glass fibers alone. In general, as the relative amount of carbon fibers increased, the likelihood of precipitating a compression failure also increased. For 92% of the specimens tested, the threshold for obtaining a compression failure was utilizing 30% carbon fibers. The results presented herein can dictate future studies to optimize hybrid performance and to achieve economical configurations for a given set of design requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210051-210058
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Engineering Materials and Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Aerospace applications
  • Composite materials
  • Mechanical properties of materials
  • Structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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