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Micromechanical Analysis of Polymer Composites Reinforced by Unidirectional Fibres Part II Micromechanical Analyses 2013 International Journal of Soli

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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijsolstr

bres: Part II Micromechanical analyses

A.R. Melro a,, P.P. Camanho b, F.M. Andrade Pires b, S.T. Pinho c

a

DEMec, Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, s/n 4200-465 Porto, Portugal

c

Dept. of Aeronautics, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK

b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Available online 18 February 2013

Keywords:

FEA

Damage

Micromechanics

Epoxy

Composites

a b s t r a c t

This paper presents the application of a new constitutive damage model for an epoxy matrix on micromechanical analyses of polymer composite materials. Different representative volume elements (RVEs)

are developed with a random distribution of bres. Upon application of periodic boundary conditions

(PBCs) on the RVEs, different loading scenarios are applied and the mechanical response of the composite

studied. Focus is given to the inuence of the interface between bre and matrix, as well as to the inuence of the epoxy matrix, on the strength properties of the composite, damage initiation and propagation

under different loading conditions.

2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

This article describes the application of a novel constitutive

model for epoxy materials presented in an accompanying paper

(Melro et al., 2013) to the prediction of inelastic deformation and

fracture of polymer composite materials. In recent years, micromechanical numerical analysis has made substantial advances.

Proof of that is the outstanding increase in recent publications

addressing the issue of micromechanical modelling of composite

materials making use of nite element analysis (FEA). The rst issue which requires attention when modelling the micromechanical

behaviour of a composite is the distribution of reinforcements in

the matrix material. Initially, a simplication was used considering

that the distribution of reinforcements followed a regular pattern,

for example, square or hexagonal (Li, 2001). For example,

Romanowicz (2012) and Hobbiebrunken et al. (2005) performed

micromechanical analysis on an hexagonal distribution of reinforcements. However, such distributions do not appropriately

reect the stress eld in the matrix, namely hydrostatic pressure

imposed by the stiffer bre material. To circumvent this problem,

algorithms and special techniques were developed to generate spatial distributions of reinforcements. For example, Vaughan and

McCarthy (2010) proposed an experimentalnumerical approach

to generate statistically equivalent distributions of reinforcements

in a composite, while Melro et al. (2008) developed an algorithm to

Corresponding author. Tel.: +351 22 508 1753; fax: +351 22 508 1584.

E-mail address: amelro@fe.up.pt (A.R. Melro).

0020-7683/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2013.02.007

reinforcements.

The other important aspect for micromechanical analysis is the

constitutive behaviour of the constituents of the composite. The

matrix material is known to be pressure dependent and extremely

ductile under shear. To simulate these properties, many authors

gave use to standard non-linear models found in the literature.

Vaughan and McCarthy (2010) and Totry et al. (2010) have applied

the MohrCoulomb elasto-plastic model, Romanowicz (2012)

made use of the DruckerPrager elasto-plastic model, and Canal

et al. (2012) considered the matrix to follow a plastic coupled with

damage model which does not consider any hardening effect. Independent experimental analysis have shown that these constitutive

models are not suited for modelling the mechanical behaviour of

epoxy resins. Ghorbel (2008) compared some of these models concluding that only a paraboloidal criterion can properly capture the

non-linear behaviour of polymers under compression. Similar conclusions were achieved by Raghava et al. (1973). Fiedler et al.

(2001) performed extensive experimental characterisation of

epoxy resins, reaching identical results. The use of MohrCoulomb

or linear DruckerPrager models overestimates the mechanical

behaviour of the polymer under compressive loading conditions.

Based on these conclusions, this paper delivers a rst attempt at

implementing a thermodynamically sound constitutive model for

the material behaviour of an epoxy in composite materials, using

micromechanical analyses. The constitutive model consists of

an elasto-plastic stress evolution law that is capable of capturing the most signicant characteristics of an epoxy, such as

pressure dependency on its yield and failure behaviour, and shear

1907

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

Table 1

Material properties.

Poissons ratio

Plastic Poissons ratio

Tensile strength [MPa]

Compressive strength [MPa]

Mode I fracture toughness [N/mm]

Glass bres

Epoxy matrix

74

0.2

3.76

0.39

0.3

93

124

0.09

et al., 2001). An isotropic damage model has been included in the

constitutive model in order to provide more accurate predictions

on damage initiation and propagation in an epoxy matrix. The

implementation of the damage model took into account the dissipated energy release upon crack opening and propagation, according to the crack band model proposed by Bazant and Oh (1983)

which allows for mesh independence of the obtained results. To

the authors knowledge, it is the rst time such a complete integration is performed in a micromechanical numerical analysis, by

considering non-linear effects resulting from hardening and

stiffness reduction due to failure. The model is robustly built in

order to appropriately represent the constitutive response under

any loading condition.

Application of this constitutive model is made to a batch of representative volume elements (RVEs) of a unidirectional composite

material. The RVEs are developed at the micro-scale level of the

composite with a random distribution of reinforcements. A set of

periodic boundary conditions (PBCs) are applied to the RVEs allowing for the application of different loading conditions. The interface

between the matrix and the reinforcements is accounted for by

applying cohesive elements between the two constituents in RVEs

(Gonzlez and LLorca, 2007). Upon homogenisation of results, the

capability for the performed micromechanical analyses to capture

damage initiation and subsequent propagation with increasing

load is demonstrated. The inuence of interfacial damage in the

non-linear behaviour of the composite is also addressed. Attention

is also given to the dependency of results to the size of the representative volume elements used in the micromechanical analyses.

2. Constitutive modelling

In the generated RVEs, three different regions are considered:

the matrix material, the reinforcing bres, and the interface between matrix and bre. Since focus of this article is on the inuence of the interface and matrix material, the reinforcing bres

are considered to possess linear elastic isotropic constitutive

behaviour. The matrix is modelled using the elasto-plastic with

isotropic damage constitutive model described in Part I of this article (Melro et al., 2013). The interface between bres and matrix is

represented using the cohesive element formulation existent in the

commercial nite element analysis software ABAQUS (Hibbit et al.,

2006). The cohesive element behaviour is linear elastic up to damage onset. Initial stiffness of the cohesive element is set to

108 MPa=m to maintain continuity of the stress and strain elds

between bre and matrix. The strength of the cohesive elements

is dependent on the loading direction: tensile or shear. A tensile

strength of 50 MPa and a shear strength of 70 MPa are considered

for these analyses (Vaughan and McCarthy, 2011). Damage evolution is controlled by a linear softening law until complete failure of

the cohesive element. The rate of damage progression is controlled

by the fracture energy of the cohesive element under mode I, mode

II or a combination of both (Hibbit et al., 2006). Based on previous

experimental work (Varna et al., 1997), this value was set to

G IC 2 J=m2 and G IIC 6 J=m2 . These low values of toughness are

justied not only from the experimental work in Varna et al.

(1997), but also from the micromechanical numerical analyses performed by Vaughan and McCarthy (2011) who have demonstrated

that the brittle behaviour in transverse tension typical of composites is only captured for such low values of interfacial toughness.

The material properties for both reinforcements and epoxy matrix were taken from the literature and are summarised in Table 1.

The hardening behaviour of the epoxy, as well as the elastic and

strength properties were taken from the experimental work conducted by Fiedler et al. (2001), while for the fracture toughness

an average value from what can be found in the literature is used

for Bisphenol-A type epoxies (Hsieh et al., 2010, for example).

The properties for the reinforcing bres are taken from Soden

et al. (1998). The diameter of the bre is considered constant and

equal to 5 lm.

3. Finite element modelling

To demonstrate the validity of the presented constitutive models, several three-dimensional RVEs were generated and different

loading conditions were applied, always considering that a random

distribution of reinforcements in the transverse section exists. The

algorithm developed by Melro et al. (2008) was used for this purpose. periodic boundary conditions (PBCs) were applied to the

RVEs following Barbero (2008). The main focus of this work is

not the appropriate choice of boundary conditions in RVE-based

modelling. We recognise that the damage pattern is affected by

this type of boundary conditions and further studies have to be

conducted to assess its impact.

PBCs can be incorporated in a nite element analysis by using

linear multi-point constraints. These are nothing more than kinematic constraints imposed on the degrees of freedom of each pair

of nodes belonging to opposite faces, edges or vertices of the RVE.

Not only the degrees of freedom of these nodes are variables in

these equations but also the far-eld applied strains. Depending

on which position the nodes are faces, edges or vertices a different set of equations must be applied to their degrees of freedom

in order to solve compatibility issues between different kinematic

constraints. Fig. 1 shows the location and numbering used for the

faces (a), edges (b), and vertices (c) of the RVE to apply PBCs.

Equations for establishing PBCs are summarised in the following (Barbero, 2008):

Faces

u2i u4i ae0i2 0

u6i

u5i

0

i3

be 0

Edges

u1i u3i ce0i1 ae0i2 0

u6i u8i ce0i1 be0i3 0

u5i u7i ce0i1 be0i3 0

9

0

0

u11

i ui aei2 bei3 0

12

0

0

u10

i ui aei2 bei3 0

Vertices

u2i u8i ce0i1 ae0i2 be0i3 0

u7i u1i ce0i1 ae0i2 be0i3 0

u4i

u6i

0

i1

0

i2

0

i3

ce ae be 0:

1908

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

chosen to generate the mesh of the RVEs. However, due to the randomness of the distribution of reinforcements and consequent difculty to mesh such geometry, a few wedge elements had to be

included in the mesh. After post-processing results, it was conrmed that these elements presented no inuence in the mesomechanical behaviour of the composite.

volume fraction of 60% CASES 15. The RVEs have a transverse

side-measure of 10 the bre radius and a thickness of 0:3 the

bre radius in the longitudinal direction. One more RVE was generated with a side-measure of 20 the bre radius CASE 6 with

the purpose of evaluating the independence of the results from the

volume element size. These dimensions are justied from a preli-

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

Table 2

Far-eld strain tensor applied for each load case.

Load case

Longitudinal shear

e e2 e2

eo e1 e2 e2 e1

Transverse shear

eo e2 e3 e3 e2

Transverse compression

eo e2 e2

eo e2 e2 e2 e3 e3 e2

transverse shear

with different geometric parameters of the RVE (Melro et al.,

2012). Fig. 2 shows the generated RVEs and their respective

meshes. The smaller RVEs contain an approximate number of

39,200 elements while the larger RVE was built with approximately 155,000 elements.

4. Application to composite volume elements

Five different loading conditions are applied to the RVEs which

should induce different mechanical responses to the material:

transverse tension, longitudinal shear, transverse shear, transverse

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+1.257e02

+5.000e03

+4.583e03

+4.167e03

+3.750e03

+3.333e03

+2.917e03

+2.500e03

+2.083e03

+1.667e03

+1.250e03

+8.333e04

+4.167e04

+0.000e+00

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+2.248e02

+5.000e03

+4.583e03

+4.167e03

+3.750e03

+3.333e03

+2.917e03

+2.500e03

+2.083e03

+1.667e03

+1.250e03

+8.333e04

+4.167e04

+0.000e+00

1.893e07

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.979e01

+9.148e01

+8.316e01

+7.484e01

+6.653e01

+5.821e01

+4.990e01

+4.158e01

+3.326e01

+2.495e01

+1.663e01

+8.316e02

+0.000e+00

80

70

CASE 6 Without Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 With Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 Without Cohesive Elements

60

Stress (22)[MPa]

Transverse tension

Diagram

50

40

30

20

10

0

0

1909

0.002

0.004

0.006

Strain (22)

0.008

0.01

0.012

1910

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

transverse shear. The applied far-eld strain tensors are dened

in Table 2.

For each loading condition, three different outputs are provided: the eld distributions of equivalent plastic strain and of

damage in the matrix, and the homogenised stressstrain curves

up to localisation of damage in the volume element. Although only

one CASE is presented for each loading condition, it is representative in terms of damage localisation pattern of all other CASES. The

stressstrain curves are obtained after performing volumetric

homogenisation dened by:

1

V

Z

V

rij dV

p

1X

rk V k ;

V k1 ij

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+2.113e02

+1.000e02

+9.149e03

+8.298e03

+7.448e03

+6.597e03

+5.746e03

+4.895e03

+4.045e03

+3.194e03

+2.343e03

+1.492e03

+6.414e04

2.094e04

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+3.618e02

+1.000e02

+9.114e03

+8.228e03

+7.343e03

+6.457e03

+5.571e03

+4.685e03

+3.799e03

+2.914e03

+2.028e03

+1.142e03

+2.563e04

6.295e04

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.240e01

+8.470e01

+7.700e01

+6.930e01

+6.160e01

+5.390e01

+4.620e01

+3.850e01

+3.080e01

+2.310e01

+1.540e01

+7.700e02

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.998e01

+9.165e01

+8.331e01

+7.498e01

+6.665e01

+5.831e01

+4.998e01

+4.165e01

+3.331e01

+2.498e01

+1.665e01

+8.313e02

2.023e04

55

50

45

CASE 6 Without Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 With Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 Without Cohesive Elements

40

Stress (12)[MPa]

roij

are the stress component determined at integration point k and

associated volume, respectively, and N p represents the total number

of integration points in the RVE. After localisation of damage, the

homogenisation procedure becomes ill-posed due to its dependence

on the size of the RVE and applied periodic boundary conditions.

Hence, the stressstrain diagrams are interrupted shortly after

localisation (the softening part of the curve is still plotted in dotted

line for reference).

Plots of homogenised stressstrain curves obtained with and

without considering cohesive elements along the brematrix

interface are compared. This comparison will help to distinguish

the roll played by different failure mechanisms in the numerical

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

0

0.001

0.002

0.003

0.004

0.005 0.006

Strain ( )

0.007

0.008

12

0.009

0.01

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

simulation, and the inuence of each in the homogenised behaviour of the composite under different loading conditions.

4.1. Transverse tension

Fig. 3 shows the results for the transverse tension loading condition for CASE 2 of the generated bre distributions. A crack develops along a direction transverse to the applied loading. Those

elements where the damage variable has reached a value of 1 have

failed completely. In the models with cohesive elements, crack formation begins with the decohesion of the matrix from the bre, i.e.

bres are aligned with the loading direction (marked with A in

Fig. 3(b)). If interfacial failure is not considered, then the transverse

tensile strength of the composite is overestimated. The same occurs for the ultimate failure strain. This is visible in Fig. 3(c).

Although initial stiffness is similar considering or not interfacial

failure, the evolution of the micro-mechanical damage is substantially different. Interfacial decohesion leads to a more pronounced

stiffness reduction, ultimately leading to an earlier transverse failure of the unidirectional composite. This stiffness reduction is a direct consequence of interfacial failure all over the RVE. A damage

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+2.524e02

+1.500e02

+1.375e02

+1.250e02

+1.125e02

+1.000e02

+8.750e03

+7.500e03

+6.250e03

+5.000e03

+3.750e03

+2.500e03

+1.250e03

+0.000e+00

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+3.072e02

+1.500e02

+1.375e02

+1.250e02

+1.125e02

+1.000e02

+8.750e03

+7.500e03

+6.250e03

+5.000e03

+3.750e03

+2.500e03

+1.250e03

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.811e01

+8.993e01

+8.176e01

+7.358e01

+6.541e01

+5.723e01

+4.905e01

+4.088e01

+3.270e01

+2.453e01

+1.635e01

+8.176e02

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+1.000e+00

+9.167e01

+8.333e01

+7.500e01

+6.667e01

+5.833e01

+5.000e01

+4.167e01

+3.333e01

+2.500e01

+1.667e01

+8.333e02

+0.000e+00

60

50

CASE 6 Without Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 With Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 Without Cohesive Elements

23

Stress ( )[MPa]

40

30

20

10

0

0

0.001

0.002

0.003

0.004

1911

0.005 0.006

Strain ( )

0.007

0.008

23

0.009

0.01

1912

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

necks of matrix material around the regions where interfacial damage is more pronounced (marked with B in Fig. 3b). This is conrmed by micrographs taken during experimental testing

(Hobbiebrunken et al., 2006, page 2252). Both experimental observations and numerical results demonstrate that brittleness of the

composite under transverse tension is consequence of the brittleness of the interface and not of the epoxy matrix.

Also worthy of attention is the inuence of the size of the RVE. A

larger RVE leads to equal results in terms of ultimate strength, but

there is a clear tendency for a sharper decline in the stiffness

the past (Nguyen et al., 2010), the homogenised stressstrain response does not scale with the RVE size. This tendency occurs in

all loading conditions to be analysed in the following subsections.

4.2. Longitudinal shear

Fig. 4 shows the results for the longitudinal shear loading condition for CASE 3 of the generated bre distributions. An horizontal

band of damaged material is formed in the matrix parallel to the

bres. The inuence of the brematrix interface is almost null

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+2.276e02

+1.500e02

+1.374e02

+1.249e02

+1.123e02

+9.979e03

+8.724e03

+7.469e03

+6.214e03

+4.959e03

+3.704e03

+2.448e03

+1.193e03

6.190e05

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+3.807e02

+1.500e02

+1.375e02

+1.250e02

+1.125e02

+9.995e03

+8.744e03

+7.493e03

+6.242e03

+4.991e03

+3.740e03

+2.488e03

+1.237e03

1.383e05

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.949e01

+9.120e01

+8.291e01

+7.462e01

+6.633e01

+5.804e01

+4.975e01

+4.145e01

+3.316e01

+2.487e01

+1.658e01

+8.291e02

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+1.122e+00

+1.020e+00

+9.172e01

+8.148e01

+7.123e01

+6.099e01

+5.075e01

+4.050e01

+3.026e01

+2.001e01

+9.770e02

4.734e03

1.072e01

160

140

CASE 6 Without Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 With Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 Without Cohesive Elements

Stress (|22|)[MPa]

120

100

80

60

40

20

0

0

0.002

0.004

0.006

0.008

Strain (| |)

0.01

0.012

22

0.014

0.016

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+1.375e02

+5.000e03

+4.583e03

+4.167e03

+3.750e03

+3.333e03

+2.917e03

+2.500e03

+2.083e03

+1.667e03

+1.250e03

+8.333e04

+4.167e04

+0.000e+00

SDV4

(Avg: 75%)

+2.568e02

+5.000e03

+4.583e03

+4.167e03

+3.750e03

+3.333e03

+2.917e03

+2.500e03

+2.083e03

+1.667e03

+1.250e03

+8.333e04

+4.167e04

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.639e01

+8.836e01

+8.032e01

+7.229e01

+6.426e01

+5.623e01

+4.819e01

+4.016e01

+3.213e01

+2.410e01

+1.606e01

+8.032e02

+0.000e+00

SDV3

(Avg: 75%)

+9.984e01

+9.152e01

+8.320e01

+7.488e01

+6.656e01

+5.824e01

+4.992e01

+4.160e01

+3.328e01

+2.496e01

+1.664e01

+8.320e02

+0.000e+00

1913

55

50

45

CASE 6 Without Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 With Cohesive Elements

CASES 15 Without Cohesive Elements

Stress (|22|)[MPa]

40

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

0

4

Strain (|22|)

8

3

x 10

Fig. 7. Results for combined transverse compression and transverse shear example.

the matrix which controls ultimate strength of the unidirectional

composite. Damage is rst activated in several regions in between

close bres where non-linear behaviour of the matrix also occurs

(marked with A in Fig. 4(a) and with B in Fig. 4(b)). As loading progresses, damage localises along an horizontal band in the matrix,

i.e. swerving around the bres. Albeit there is no inuence of the

brematrix interface up to ultimate strength, in the softening region of the stressstrain curves (Fig. 4(c)) there is a tendency for a

sharper decrease of stiffness. In other words, by not considering

the homogenised stress eld is obtained, leading to greater values

of failure strain of the unidirectional composite.

4.3. Transverse shear

Fig. 5 shows the results for the transverse shear loading condition for CASE 4 of the generated bre distributions. A band of localised damage is formed along a diagonal direction (marked with A

in Fig. 5(b)). The inclination angle of this band is difcult to judge

1914

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

possible to conclude that failure in the matrix occurs in a plane

roughly perpendicular to the maximum principal macro-stress.

Visible in Fig. 5(c) is the inuence of the brematrix interfacial

failure. Interface failure provides a faster decrease of stiffness for

the unidirectional composite, thus inuencing the predicted

value of ultimate stress and ultimate strain. Also, there is a longer

non-linear behaviour of the unidirectional composite when the

interface is not considered in the modelling, similarly to the

longitudinal shear case.

4.4. Transverse compression

Fig. 6 shows the results for the transverse compression loading

condition for CASE 1 of the generated bre distributions. The localised band of damage (marked with A in Fig. 6(b)) follows a direction not aligned with the compressive load. The inclination of

this band is approximately 53 with a vertical line. This result

was recurring for all CASES. The measured angle of the localised

band of damage is in excellent agreement with observed experimental data (Puck and Schrmann, 2002; Pinho et al., 2006). This

inclination angle also demonstrates that it is not due to the compressive effort, but due to shear stresses developing along an inclined plane that failure is bound to occur along that inclined

plane. In Fig. 6(c) it is possible to visualise the inuence of the brematrix interfacial damage. Failure at the interface due to shear

efforts is bound to help propagate damage faster up to maximum

stress with consequent decrease in stiffness. The presence of interfacial damage also causes a lesser non-linear region, as was the situation for the two previous shear loading conditions.

4.5. Combined transverse compression and transverse shear

Fig. 7 shows the results for the combined effort of transverse

compression with transverse shear for CASE 5 of the generated bre distributions. A different direction of the localised band of

damaged material is visible in this load case when comparing with

the individual loading cases of Figs. 5(b) and 6(b). For this load

case, the magnitude of the compressive load is equal to the magnitude of the transverse shear load. While the transverse compression imposes a fracture plane where the normal tensile

component is maximum at 53 with the vertical, the transverse

shear load imposes a different inclination angle for the fracture

plane. The combination of the two different loadings has an impact

on the distribution of shear stresses in the matrix affecting the

plane at which these shear stresses are maximum. Clearly visible

in Fig. 7(c) is also the inuence of cohesive elements. Unlike in

the individual loading cases previously discussed, a combination

of transverse compression and transverse shear implies the

re-distribution of shear stresses in the matrix, especially in the

brematrix interface, where damage initiation is visible (marked

with B in Fig. 7(b)). The presence of interfacial damage also causes

a smaller non-linear region in the homogenised stressstrain

curves.

4.6. Discussion of results

Analysing the homogenised stressstrain diagrams in Figs. 37,

it can be concluded that the material response is not signicantly

affected by the choice of boundary conditions and size of RVEs in

the hardening stage. This is visible independently of the loading

condition that is applied to the RVEs. The independence of results

from the size of the RVEs is an important conclusion as it removes

the need for the use of huge RVEs in order to assure the representativeness of results, as had been done by Trias et al. (2006) or

Vaughan and McCarthy (2011).

there can be a dependency on both boundary conditions and size

of RVE. Recently, a novel type of boundary conditions for strain

localisation in micro-structural analyses was proposed (Coenen

et al., 2012) that is able to capture the constraining effect of the

material surrounding the RVE upon developing a localisation band.

As for the dependency on the size of the RVE during softening, one

possible remedy is the use of a failure zone averaging mechanism

(Nguyen et al., 2010). These alternatives should be considered in

future developments of the work presented in this paper.

The inuence of brematrix interface must also be underlined.

Although under certain loading conditions their presence scarcely

changes the homogenised stressstrain response (such as under

longitudinal shear), in all other loading scenarios studied in this

contribution their inuence is strongly felt. In future studies

involving micromechanical analyses where diverse boundary conditions will be applied, the brematrix interface will be

considered.

5. Conclusions

Upon development and implementation of a novel constitutive

damage model for a typical epoxy matrix in Part I of this contribution (Melro et al., 2013), representative volume elements of unidirectional composites were studied. The brematrix interface has

been modelled assuming a bi-linear traction-separation damage

law. The RVEs contain a random distribution of reinforcements in

the matrix and periodic boundary conditions were implemented.

Different loading conditions were applied in order to study damage

initiation and propagation in the matrix and brematrix interface

transverse tension, longitudinal shear, transverse shear, transverse compression, and a combination of transverse compression

and shear. The objective of such analyses is to demonstrate the

capacity of the implemented material model for the matrix to capture the different responses visible in equivalent experimental

analyses:

Under transverse tension and transverse shear loading, interfacial damage is responsible for damage initiation. The formation

of narrow necks of epoxy material around the failed interfaces

demonstrates that failure under transverse tension is controlled

by the brittleness of the brematrix interface.

Epoxy matrix is the sole responsible for damage initiation and

propagation under longitudinal shear load, thus justifying the

high shear straining measured experimentally.

Inclination of the fracture angle is perfectly captured by the

micromechanical analyses. This demonstrates the good agreement with experimental results obtained from using the proposed constitutive model.

Upon combination of transverse compression with transverse

shear, a combination of failure mechanisms is observed. The

damage is initiated along the brematrix interface and, simultaneously, shear straining is observed in the epoxy matrix.

Combination of these two mechanisms leads to considerable

non-linear behaviour of the composite.

Another important conclusion is the independence of results

from the size of the RVE before damage localisation.

Acknowledgements

The rst author acknowledges the nancial support from Fundao para a Cincia e a Tecnologia (FCT) through the doctoral degree grant SFRH-BD-24045-2005, and from the research project

PDCTE-EME-65099-2003 funded by POPH QREN Tipologia 4.1

A.R. Melro et al. / International Journal of Solids and Structures 50 (2013) 19061915

second author would like to thank the nancial support from FCT

under the Project PDCT/EME_PME/64984/2006.

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