Micromechanical modelling of particle reinforced composites considering particle clustering, particle size, and damage

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University of New Brunswick
Particle-reinforced composites which rely on hard particles to increase strength have many applications in the automotive and aerospace industries. Although experimental studies are the most reliable way to investigate the behavior of these composites, it is costly and time consuming because the optimized microstructure would be found by trial and error. Therefore, several methods have been proposed to predict the behavior of particle-reinforced composites. The available methods, such as micromechanical analytical and finite element methods are shown to be unable to capture the influence of some of the microstructural details of the particle-reinforced composites. Therefore, the main objective of the present work is to improve the current methods in order to take into account a wider range of microstructural details such as the distribution and size of the particles, and the damage evolution of the composite. The present work shows that particle clustering can be studied by simulation of multiparticle unit cells. The results show that particle clustering can significantly influence the ductility of the particle-reinforced composites. In addition, a novel method is introduced to consider the particle size effects. It is shown that smaller sized particles increase the flow stress of the composite. Finally a simple damage model is proposed to consider the damage evolution of the composites which can take into account the softening of the material.