Arch Appl Mech

DOI 10.1007/s00419-015-1116-2

SPECIAL

Shao-Zhen Lin · Li-Yuan Zhang · Jun-Yuan Sheng · Bo Li ·
Xi-Qiao Feng

Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli
of soft neo-Hookean composites

Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Abstract Most biological soft tissues are multiphase composite materials, and the determination of their
effective constitutive relations is a major concern in medical engineering. In this paper, we consider a class of
soft two-phase composites, in which both phases are isotropic and hyperelastic neo-Hookean materials. For
such an isotropic composite consisting of inclusions uniformly distributed but randomly oriented in a matrix,
two constitutive parameters are required to characterize its hyperelastic constitutive relation. Micromechanics
methods, including dilute concentration method, Mori–Tanaka method, self-consistent method, and differential
method are extended to predict the effective properties of this kind of composites. Analytical solutions are given
for the hyperelastic neo-Hookean composites reinforced by spherical particles, long fibers, and penny-shaped
platelets, respectively. Finite element simulations are performed to evaluate the accuracy of these theoretical
methods.

Keywords Biological soft tissue · Neo-Hookean composite · Overall effective property · Hyperelasticity ·
Micromechanics

1 Introduction

Composites can possess some superior mechanical properties over their constituent counterparts and, there-
fore, have many technologically important applications in, for instance, aerospace technology [1], automobile
industry [2,3], and bioengineering [4,5]. In the past decades, much effort has been directed toward predicting
the macroscopic mechanical properties of composites from the microstructures and constitutive relations of
their constituent phases [6–10]. A multitude of micromechanics methods have been established, e.g., dilute con-
centration or non-interacting method (DCM) [11], Mori–Tanaka method (MTM) [12], self-consistent method
(SCM) [13], and differential method (DM) [14,15], and most of them are based on the well-known Eshelby
inclusion theory [11,16]. These methods have been extensively applied to predict the overall mechanical
responses of linear elastic composites.
To date, however, there is still a shortage of methods to predict the effective mechanical properties of
composites containing one or more nonlinear constituent phases, e.g., hyperelastic neo-Hookean materials.
Due to its simplicity in form, the hyperelastic neo-Hookean model, proposed by Rivlin [17], has been widely
used to characterize the mechanical behavior of soft materials. For instance, the mechanical properties of some
S.-Z. Lin · J.-Y. Sheng · B. Li · X.-Q. Feng (B)
AML & CNMM, Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Tel.: +86-10-6277 2934
Fax: +86-10-6278 1824
E-mail: fengxq@tsinghua.edu.cn

L.-Y. Zhang
School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China

are multiphase composites. Classical micromechanics theory reveals that when an infinitely extended elastic matrix reinforced by a single ellipsoidal inclusion is subjected to a far-field strain ε̄ ∞ . We will investigate how the conventional micromechanics methods on the basis of the Eshelby inclusion theory can be extended to predict the effective hyperelastic constitutive parameters of such two-phase neo-Hookean composites. 37].g. and muscles. (1) degenerates to the linear elastic Hooke’s law (see “Appendix A”). soft composites also hold promise for applications in such rapidly developing technologies as soft and biomimetic machines [28] and flexible electronics [29]. three representative shapes of ellipsoidal inclusions including spherical particles. In the case of infinitesimal deformation. and penny-shaped platelets are considered. S. the neo-Hookean constitutive model in Eq. whose performance and reliability rely strongly on their overall mechanical properties. most biological soft tissues. the macroscopic effective constitutive parameters μeff and κeff at the ground state are constant and independent of its deformation. tendons. blood vessels. the resulted strain in the inclusion can be expressed as [16]   −1 ∞ ε̄ p = I + S : C−1 m : Cp − Cm : ε̄ . e2 . (1) 2 2     where I1 = tr FT · F . [32] derived the strain energy function of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by aligned neo-Hookean fibers. respectively. e.27]. 1. Here. This paper is aimed to predict the effective constitutive parameters of soft two-phase composites. Both the global coordinate system and the local coordinate systems are right-handed Cartesian ξ ξ ξ  z z z coordinate systems. we generalize their conclusion and assume that the macroscopic homogeneous and isotropic neo-Hookean composite under investigation obeys the neo-Hookean constitutive law.35] to estimate the macro- scopic mechanical behavior of soft biological tissues with undulated collagen fibers. respectively. Qiu and Pence [30] and Merodio and Ogden [31] investigated the deformation behavior of nonlinear elastic composites directionally reinforced by linear elastic fibers. In fact. The constitutive relations of neo-Hookean multiphase composites have attracted considerable attention in recent years. biological soft tissues are often modeled by the neo-Hookean model [18–22]. [36. The axes of the local coordinate system (z 1 . z 3 ) coincide with the principal axes of each inclusion. 2 Basic equations Consider an inclusion of ellipsoidal shape embedded in a neo-Hookean solid. Lin et al.. The characterization of their constitutive relations is important for tissue engineering and surgery operations and hence becomes a major concern in those fields [26. μ and κ denote the shear and bulk modulus. Lopez-Pamies et al. The strain energy density function of a neo-Hookean hyperelastic material can be expressed as μ  −1/3  κ 1/2 2 W = I1 I3 −3 + I3 − 1 . [36. A unified global coordinate system (ξ1 . I3 = det FT · F . The method for evaluating the average Cauchy stresses and the average Cauchy strains in an isotropic composite under infinitesimal deformation has been developed previously [16. with F being the deformation gradient tensor. making the composites be macroscopically homogeneous and isotropic. an incompressible neo-Hookean composite reinforced by randomly oriented rigid inclusions still obeys the incompressible neo-Hookean constitutive law. The inclusions are uniformly distributed but randomly oriented in the matrix. Chen et al. e2 . for an isotropic neo-Hookean composite.37] studied the nonlinear response of an incompressible neo-Hookean rubber reinforced by randomly oriented rigid inclusions by invoking an iterated homogenization method [38] and the nonlinear comparison medium technique. e3 and e1 . in which at least one phase is hyperelastic and organic [23–25]. [33] implemented the second-order homogenization theory [34. z 2 . Guo et al.39]. with their base vectors denoted as e1 . The results should also hold for the case of finite deformation. In addition. ξ2 . ξ3 ) is established to describe the orientation of inclusions. skins. In particular. In addition. as shown in Fig. in which both the matrix and the inclusions are isotropic and hyperelastic neo-Hookean materials. long fibers. This inspires us to predict the effective moduli of an isotropic neo-Hookean composite from the analysis of its infinitesimal deformations.-Z. e3 . Recently. (2) . Most previous studies considered the mechanical properties of neo-Hookean composites rein- forced by linear elastic fibers or rigid inclusions. As pointed out by Lopez-Pamies et al.

respectively. In the analysis of an individual inclusion. that is. (6) . (4) Equation (3) becomes ε̄ p =  : ε̄ ∞ em . (3) where Cem denotes the elastic stiffness tensor of the effective matrix and ε̄ ∞ em is the far-field strain applied at infinity in the effective matrix. one may remove its neighboring inclusions and replace the matrix by an effective one such that the effects of inclusion interaction can be taken into account. in composites. Cem . 1 An inclusion embedded in a matrix. z 2 . a2 . (5) Equation (5) correlates the strain ε̄ p in each inclusion and the far-field strain ε̄ ∞ em applied at the infinity in the effective matrix through the fourth-order tensor . z 3 ) is the local coordinate system where Cp and Cm are the elastic stiffness tensors of the inclusion and the matrix. (2) can be rewritten as [16]   −1 ∞ ε̄ p = I + S : C−1 em : Cp − Cem : ε̄ em . as well as the shape of inclusions. ξ2 . there are usually many inclusions dispersed in the matrix. ξ3 ) is the global coordinate system and (z 1 . and S is the Eshelby tensor. However.Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli ξ1 z2 z1 θ O ξ3 ϕ z3 ξ2 Fig. Thus Eq.  = g Cp . Defining   −1  = I + S : C−1em : Cp − Cem . which will be referred to as the local strain transformation (LST) tensor hereafter. a3 ) . ϑ (a1 . where (ξ1 . Equation (4) reveals that the LST tensor  depends on the elastic moduli of the inclusions and the effective matrix.

ϕ) = T pi (θ. we chose 1111 and 1212 as the two independent parameters of .e. DCM. (15) when the moduli Cem of the effective matrix and the far-field strain ε̄ ∞ em in the effective matrix are properly estimated [40]. Details are provided in “Appendix B”. long fibers. we will use some traditional micromechanics methods. (6) and (11) that  = g Cp . All fourth-order tensors used in the above equations are transversely isotropic tensors. z 2 . . For simplicity. (11) 4π 0 0 Here the orientations of inclusions have been assumed to be completely random. Thus the volume average strain in the composite is ε̄ = c : ε̄∞ em + (1 − c) ε̄ m . S. which leads to the coefficient 1/4π in Eq. ϕ) sin θ dθ dϕ. a3 ) . From Eq. (9) 0 cos ϕ sin ϕ Substituting Eq. ϕ) Tq j (θ.  is a fourth-order transversely isotropic tensor. the Einstein summation convention is adopted for all Latin indexes.  must be an isotropic tensor and thus have only two independent parameters. It is known from Eqs. MTM. The fourth-order tensor  establishes the relationship between the average strain ε̄p in all inclusions and the far-field strain ε̄ ∞ em in the effective matrix and will be referred to as the overall strain transformation (OST) tensor. (12) where c is the volume fraction of the inclusions and ε̄ m denotes the volume average strain   in the matrix. In the matrix form. ξ ξ ξ ξ ξ  = ξ = i jkl ei e j ek el = z = izjkl eiz ezj ekz elz . SCM. (7) Here and throughout the paper. (10) where  2π  π 1 = ξ (θ. The results will be validated by finite element simulations. In the following. to determine the constitutive parameters μeff and κeff . where ϑ (a1 . ξ The transformation relationship between i jkl and izjkl can be written as ξ i jkl (θ.-Z. a2 .e. spherical particles. (14) 15 5 3 Utilizing Eqs. ϑ (a1 . (8) into (5) and calculating the directional average strain in all inclusions. ϕ) = ⎣ sin θ cos θ sin ϕ − cos θ cos ϕ ⎦ . (15) Consequently. we obtain   ε̄p =  : ε̄ ∞ em . (11). ϕ) zpqr s . Lin et al. ϕ) denotes the transformation tensor from the global coordinate system (ξ1 . (11).. Cem . z 3 ).. we obtain 1 z 8 2 2 8 1111 =  + z + z + z + z . we express  as ξ in the global coordinate system and z in the local coordinate system. ξ3 ) to the local coordinate system (z 1 . (13) Since the inclusions are uniformly distributed and randomly oriented in the matrix. For the sake of clarity. For the three kinds of ellipsoidal inclusions discussed in this paper. ξ2 . (5) and (12). (8) where T (θ. a2 . and we adopt Walpole’s method [41] to simplify the derivation in the sequel. and penny-shaped platelets. i. ϕ) Tr k (θ. and DM. it reads ⎡ ⎤ cos θ − sin θ sin ϕ sin θ cos ϕ T (θ. we readily obtain the average stress tensor in the composite as   σ̄ = cCp : ε̄p + (1 − c) Cm : ε̄m     = Cm : ε̄ + c Cp − Cm :  : ε̄ ∞ em . i. 5 1111 15 2222 15 1122 15 2211 15 1212 1  z z z z  2 z 1 z 1212 = 1111 + 2222 − 1122 − 2211 + 1212 + 2323 . that is. ϕ) Tsl (θ. a3 ) describes the inclusion shape. the effective moduli Ceff can be calculated from Eq.

(19) into (18). and penny-shaped platelets. (19) 3κp + 4μm 6μp (κm + 2μm ) + μm (9κm + 8μm ) Substituting Eq. The OST tensor becomes DCM = g Cp .1 Dilute concentration method (DCM) When the volume fraction of inclusions in the composite is low. a3 ) . their interactions will be relatively weak and can be ignored.. Eq. we get the effective bulk modulus and shear modulus of the neo-Hookean composite reinforced by dilute distributed spherical particles as     κp − κm (3κm + 4μm ) κeff = κm 1 + DCM   c . (16) into (18). the effective elastic stiffness tensor obtained from DCM is given as   CDCM eff = Cm + c Cp − Cm : DCM . spherical particles. (17) Consequently. it can be simply assumed that Cem = Cm and ε̄∞ em = ε̄. a2 . the expressions of DCM and CDCM eff can be derived using the method given in the “Appendix B” but the lengthy results are omitted here. we examine the application of four conventional micromechanics methods to evaluate the effective moduli of neo-Hookean composites. (15) degenerates to   σ̄ = Cm + c Cp − Cm : DCM : ε̄. (18) Substituting Eq. (16) Then. the results are provided below. the OST tensor can be expressed as   3κm + 4μm 5μm (3κm + 4μm )  DCM = . (i) For a composite reinforced by spherical particles. . 3. [36]. Cm . (20) 6μp (κm + 2μm ) + μm (9κm + 8μm ) When the matrix is incompressible and the inclusions are rigid as well. Eq. κm 3κp + 4μm     5 μ p − μ m (3κ m + 4μ m ) μDCM eff = μm 1 + c . its effective shear modulus is obtained as      μp − μm 3μp + 2μm μeff = μm 1 + DCM c . the effective bulk modulus κeffDCM → ∞ due to the incompressibility. (23) 5μp μm . we can derive the effective moduli of a neo-Hookean composite reinforced by inclusions with various shapes.e. (22) 5μm μp + μm (iii) When both the inclusions and the matrix of a composite reinforced by penny-shaped platelets are incom- pressible. In the special case that both the inclusions and the matrix are incompressible. ϑ (a1 . For three representative shapes. (ii) For a composite reinforced by long fibers. (20) degenerates to   5 μeff = μm 1 + c . DCM (21) 2 which coincides with the result of Lopez-Pamies et al. i. The accuracy and validation scopes of these methods will be compared. Then. and the effective shear modulus μeff can be derived explicitly as DCM      μp − μm μp + 9μm μeff = μm 1 + DCM   c . long fibers. Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli 3 Effective moduli In this section.

Lin et al. the OST tensor can be expressed as MTM = g Cp . (26) Then the bulk modulus κeff MTM and shear modulus μMTM are expressed as eff    MTM  κp − κm 3 1111 − 4 MTM 1212 κeff MTM = κm + c. (27) 1 − c + 2c MTM 1212 (i) For a composite reinforced by spherical particles. (19) to (27) gives   (3κm + 4μm ) α κeff MTM = κm 1 + c . (25) into (15). ϑ (a1 . Using the MTM assumption of Cem = Cm and ε̄ ∞ em = ε̄ m . β= . (30) (5 − 4c) μp + (5 + 4c) μm (iii) In the case when both the matrix and the inclusions are incompressible. (31) (5 − 2c) μp + 2cμm . the moduli of the effective matrix are supposed to be the same as that of the real matrix in the MTM model. (25) After substituting Eq. Substituting ε̄ ∞ em = ε̄ m into Eq. a3 ) . substituting Eq. S. the effective stiffness tensor is derived   −1 CMTM eff = Cm + c Cp − Cm : MTM : cMTM + (1 − c) I . (16) in DCM. κm (1 − 3αc)   5 (3κm + 4μm ) β μeff = μm 1 + MTM c . Cm . (28) (κm + 2μm ) (1 − 6βc) where     κp − κm μp − μm (κm + 2μm ) α= . the effective shear modulus of a composite reinforced by penny-shaped platelets is    μp − μm 3μp + 2μm μMTM eff = μm + c.-Z. (29) 3κp + 4μm 6μp (κm + 2μm ) + μm (9κm + 8μm ) (ii) In the case when both the matrix and the inclusions are incompressible. It modifies the far-field strain ε̄ ∞ ∞ em in the effective matrix and assumes that ε̄ em is the same as the average strain ε̄ m in the matrix. 3. the effective shear modulus of a composite reinforced by long fibers is    μp − μm μp + 9μm μMTM eff = μm + c. Moreover. (12) produces MTM −1 ε̄ ∞ em = ε̄ m = c + (1 − c) I : ε̄. 1 − c + 3c MTM − 4c MTM   1111 1212 2 μp − μm MTM 1212 μMTM eff = μm + c. both of which are to be determined.2 Mori–Tanaka method (MTM) Mori–Tanaka method is a simple but quite robust method to account for the interaction of inclusions. (24) which is the same as Eq. a2 .

the intermediate composite with the obtained effective elastic tensor will be used as the matrix in the next iteration step. respectively. Instead. In addition. CSCM eff . we have ci+1 − ci φi+1 = . it can be illustrated as the following iterative steps. we derive the recursive relation of C(i) eff as   C(i+1) eff = C(i) eff + φ i+1 C p − C (i) (i) eff :  .4 Differential method (DM) Differential method conceives the actual concentration of inclusions to be reached through a step-by-step process by adding the inclusions gradually into the matrix. (14) and (32) into (33) yields    SCM  κp − κm 3κeff + 4μSCM eff κeff = κm + SCM c. Moreover. Cm .Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli 3. ∞ in the effective matrix is assumed to be the same as that in the composite. Specifically. the moduli of the effective matrix Cem are assumed to be equal to the undetermined effective moduli of the composite. the effective shear modulus of a composite reinforced by penny-shaped platelets is (5 − 3c) μm + 3cμp μSCM eff = μp . (18). For simplicity. the OST tensor becomes SCM = g Cp . the initial matrix is specified to have unit volume. the moduli of the effective matrix Cem are not taken as the same as that of the matrix. (i) For a composite reinforced by spherical particles. 3κp + 4μSCM eff    SCM  5μSCM eff μp − μm 3κeff + 4μSCM eff μeff = μm + SCM  SCM   SCM  c. One first removes an infinitesimal volume from the matrix and adds inclusions of the same volume. The iteration step will be stopped when the concentration of inclusions reaches the actual value. ϑ (a1 . the overall effective elastic tensor of this new composite is estimated by using the dilute concentration method. Eq. the far-field strain ε̄em Using the SCM approximation of Cem = CSCM ∞ eff and ε̄ em = ε̄. In SCM. (33) is an algebraic equation of the effective moduli CSCM eff . (34) 6μp κeff + 2μSCM eff + μSCMeff 9κeff + 8μSCM eff from which the moduli κeff SCM and μSCM can be solved numerically. Third. Second. CSCM eff . which can be readily solved. ε̄. let ci and C(i) eff denote the concentration of the inclusions and the effective moduli of the composite after the i-th operation. in the case when both the matrix and the inclusions are incompressible. Then. a3 ) . substituting Eqs. SCM (33) It should be noted that Eq. (38) . 2 (35) Similarly. the effective modulus μSCM eff can be obtained by solving this simple algebraic equation. eff (ii) For a composite reinforced by long fibers. a2 .3 Self-consistent method (SCM) Self-consistent method accounts for the interaction of inclusions in a manner different from MTM. (37) 1 − ci According to Eq. Let φi denote the volume of inclusions embedded in the composite at the i-th operation. (iii) When both the matrix and the inclusions are incompressible. (15) leads to   eff = Cm + c Cp − Cm :  CSCM . (36) (5 − 2c) μp + 2cμm 3. (32) Substituting ε̄ ∞ em = ε̄ into Eq. (33) degenerates to  SCM 2     μeff + (5 − 9c) μp − μm μSCM eff − (5 − c) μ p μ m + cμ p = 0.

(37) into (38) and letting i → ∞. (40) becomes DM = g Cp . (48) is  9 μp − μDM μDM eff = (1 − c)9 eff . if the inclusions are rigid (μeff → +∞). (49) μp − μm μm . ϑ (a . (43) dc 1 − c 6μp κeff DM + 2μDM + μDM 9κ DM + 8μDM eff eff eff eff with the initial condition DM    κeff = κm . (40) dc 1−c with the initial condition   eff c=0 = Cm . (46) μp − μm μm By solving this algebraic equation. which leads to κeff DM → ∞. where (i) is equal to   (i) = g Cp . a3 ) . (42) By solving the differential Eqs. (45) is obtained as  5   μp − μDM μ DM 2 eff = (1 − c)5 eff . dc 1−c 3κp + 4μDM eff    eff μp − μeff 5μDM DM 3κ DM + 4μDM dμDM 1 eff eff eff =    . (46) degenerates to μm eff = μDM 5 . 1 2 3 . (40) and (41) become    DM dκeff 1 κp − κeffDM 3κ DM + 4μDM eff eff = . when both the matrix and the inclusions are incompressible. CDM eff is governed by the differential equation dCDM 1   eff = Cp − CDM eff :  DM . (i) For a composite reinforced by spherical particles.a ) (39) Inserting Eq. we can get the effective shear modulus μeff . dc 1−c 5 μp + μDM eff  μDM  eff c=0 = μm . CDM (41) The OST tensor DM in Eq. Eq. (40) and (41) degenerate to    dμDM 1 μp − μDM eff μp + 9μDM eff eff =   . CDM eff .-Z. dc 1 − c 2μp + 3μDM eff  μDM  eff = μm . a2 . (ii) For a composite reinforced by long fibers. (48) The solution of Eq. c=0 (45) The analytical solution of Eq. ϑ (a1 . μDM  c=0 eff c=0 = μm . Lin et al. the differential Eqs. (44) When both the matrix and the inclusions are incompressible. a . the differential Eqs. S. Further. C(i) eff . (40) and (41). (47) (1 − c) 2 which coincides with the result of Lopez-Pamies et al. the effective moduli CDM eff can be derived. the differential Eqs. [37]. (43) and (44) reduce to   1 5μDMeff μp − μeff DM dμDM eff = .

Choose a representative volume element (RVE) to simulate the nonlinear mechanical responses of neo- Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed spherical particles under uniaxial stretch. MTM. The analytical solutions in these special cases are collected in Table 1. To further compare DCM. Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli (iii) For a composite reinforced by penny-shaped platelets. Fig.2). SCM. When the aspect ratio of the shape of randomly oriented inclusions is relatively small (e.6 Effect of inclusion shape As aforementioned. In the first case. SCM. (40) and (41) degenerate to    dμDM 1 μp − μDM eff 3μp + 2μDM eff eff = . the RVE has a single spherical inclusion located at the center of the RVE. 3. and DM. DCM can be applied to estimate the effective moduli of neo-Hookean composites only when the inclusions are sparsely distributed in the matrix. MTM.g. In our simulations. 3. Boundary and loading conditions and mesh are shown in Fig. five identical spherical inclusions are randomly distributed in the RVE.. In the second case.5 Comparison of different methods In Subsects. 4 Finite element simulations 4. without introducing a significant error in the estimation of effective moduli. The stiffening effects of spherical particles. <5. 3. and DM are suggested for higher values of c.1 Finite element model To further verify the applicability of the theoretical solutions to the case of large deformation. inclusion shape plays a significant role in the mechanical properties of composites. lie between the Hashin–Shtrikman’s upper and lower bounds. DCM can well predict the effective moduli of neo-Hookean composites only when the inclusion concentration is low (e. When c is smaller than 0.1–3. when both the matrix and the inclusions are incom- pressible. they can be simplified as spherical inclusions following the rule of volume equivalence. while MTM.0). where the inclusions are uniformly distributed but randomly oriented in an incompressible neo-Hookean matrix. It is illustrated that the effective moduli increase with the inclusion concentration c. Besides. and penny-shaped platelets are compared in Fig. SCM. It is found that long fibers and penny-shaped platelets exhibit an almost identical stiffening effect. and DM become larger with increasing c. and DM can be applied to the neo-Hookean composite with moderate or high concentration of inclusions. 4.4. In contrast.10).g. (51) 3μp + 2μm + 2 (1 − c) μp − μm 3. The differences among the effective moduli predicted by DCM. The Hashin– Shtrikman bounds are also provided [42]. The fol- lowing two cases are simulated. c=0 (50) and its analytical solution is     5 (1 − c) μp − μm μDM eff = 1−   μp . Therefore. except the solution of DCM. they. 2 shows their solutions of the effective moduli μeff and κeff of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed spherical particles.2. the four micromechanics methods give an almost identical result close to the Hashin–Shtrikman’s lower bound. c < 0. MTM. Generally.. . which is much higher than that of spherical particulates. the RVE contains multiple inclusions. Different inclusion concentrations can be achieved by changing the inclusion radius. SCM. we have presented four conventional micromechanics methods to derive the effective moduli of the neo-Hookean composites reinforced by inclusions of three representative shapes. we simulate the responses of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed spherical particles by using the commercial software Abaqus (Version 6. dc 1−c 5μp  μDM  eff = μm . long fibers. The average strain energy density Weff TH predicted by DM will be used to compare with that (Weff ) from the finite element method (FEM) because the effective moduli can be FE derived from the average strain energy densities under the corresponding loading conditions. Eqs.

6μp (κm + 2μm ) + μm (9κm + 8μm )   MTM = κ (3κm + 4μm ) α κeff m 1+ c . Lin et al.-Z.           κm 3κp + 4μm μp − μm μp + 9μm μp − μm 3μp + 2μm DCM     μDCM = μm 1 +   c μDCM = μm 1 + c eff eff 5 μp − μm (3κm + 4μm ) 5μm μp + μm 5μp μm μDCM eff = μ m 1 + c .Table 1 Analytical solutions for the effective moduli of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed and randomly oriented inclusions Spherical particles Long fibersa Penny-shaped plateletsa     DCM κp − κm (3κm + 4μm ) κeff = κm 1 +   c . μDM  eff c=0 = μm a The results in these columns are derived for the case when both the matrix and inclusions are incompressible S. μMTM eff = μm + c μMTM eff = μm + c   (κm + 2μm )(1 − 6βc) (5 − 4c) μp + (5 + 4c) μm (5 − 2c) μp + 2cμm κp − κm μp − μm (κm + 2μm ) α= . . β= . 3κp + 4μm 6μ p (κ m   SCM+ 2μmSCM ) +μm (9κm + 8μm ) κp − κm 3κeff + 4μeff  SCM 2   SCM = κ + κeff m c μeff + (5 − 9c) μp − μm μSCM 3κp + 4μSCM eff (5 − 3c) μm + 3cμp eff   SCM     μSCM eff = μp 5μSCM SCM + 4μSCM 2 (5 − 2c) μp + 2cμm eff μp − μm 3κeff eff − (5 − c) μp μm + cμ p = 0 μSCM eff = μ m +   SCM + 2μSCM + μSCM 9κ SCM + 8μSCM  c 6μp κeff eff eff eff eff DM    dκeff 1 κp − κeffDM 3κ DM + 4μDM eff eff =   dc 1−c 3κp + 4μDM  9      eff  DM DM   DM μp − μDM eff 9 μDM 5 (1 − c) μp − μm DM dμeff 1 5μeff μp − μDM eff 3κeff + 4μDM eff = (1 − c) eff μDM eff = 1−   μp =  DM  DM  DM DM  μp − μm μm 3μp + 2μm + 2 (1 − c) μp − μm dc 1 − c 6μp κeff + 2μDM eff + μeff 9κeff + 8μeff   κ DM  eff c=0 = κm .  κm (1 − 3αc)        5 (3κm + 4μm ) β μp − μm μp + 9μm μp − μm 3μp + 2μm MTM μMTM eff = μm 1 + c .

Under uniaxial stretch along the z axis. where μDM DM . (52) where λz = λ = 1 + 2u z /L m is the principal stretch. Combining Eqs.2 Comparison of theoretical and numerical results We use DM to predict the elastic moduli of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed spherical particles. κp = 10. 2 Comparison of the effective moduli of a neo-Hookean composite reinforced by uniformly distributed spherical particles obtained by DCM. κm = 1. The symbols “HS+” and “HS−” correspond to the upper and lower Hashin–Shtrikman bounds. the average deformation gradient tensor in the composite is F̄ = diag {1.0GPa 4. (1) and (52). Here. a The effective bulk modulus and b the effective shear modulus. (53) 2 2 eff and κeff are the effective shear modulus and effective bulk modulus predicted by DM. SCM and DM. 1. MTM. λz } .Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli Fig.0GPa. the moduli of the matrix and inclusions are taken as μm = 0. the average strain energy density in the RVE is derived as μDM  2   κ DM TH Weff = eff λ− 3 λ2 + 2 − 3 + eff (λ − 1)2 .6GPa. respectively. and μp = 6.0GPa.

when the inclusion concentration is c = 26. 0. Here. the matrix and inclusions are incompressible and the shear moduli of the matrix and inclusions are taken as μm = 0. 2. A good agreement is found between Weff TH and W FE in a wide range of uniaxial stretch (0. Figure 5a shows the results from the simulations in which the RVE has only one inclusion.-Z. 3 Effect of inclusion shape on the effective modulus. Fig.9 and 12. It is found that the numerical solutions for the average strain energy density Weff FE agree well with the theoretical prediction TH of DM in a wide range of uniaxial stretch (e.g. Figure 5b gives the results from the simulations in which the RVE contains five inclusions.3 ≤ λ ≤ 3.6GPa and μp = 6.26. Lin et al. The effective moduli μDM eff and κ DM obtained from DM have good accuracy in a wide eff range of inclusion concentration under large deformation.7 < λz < 1. Therefore. (54) V0 where U FE is the total strain energy of all elements.07 %). The effective shear modulus μeff is obtained by DM. especially when the eff z deformation is not too large.. respectively Fig.3.81 %.. 4 a Boundary and loading conditions and b mesh of the finite element model FE in the RVE obtained from the FEM simulation is calculated by The average strain energy density Weff U FE FE Weff = . and V0 is the initial volume of the RVE.5. 7.0). Weff z c = 0. S.0GPa. eff but their relative difference is negligible in the range of 0. The deviation between Weff TH and W FE increases as the deformation increases.0 eff eff z and 0. For example. the DM solution is a good choice for . respectively.75 < λ < 2) and high inclusion concentration (e. the relative deviation Weff TH − W FE /W FE is 5.09.g.2 % when λ = 3.

the moduli of the matrix and the inclusions are taken as μm = 0. tendons. 5 Conclusions We have addressed the micromechanics methods for predicting the effective elastic properties of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed but randomly oriented inclusions. a eff Results of an RVE containing a single inclusion.2GPa. b Results of an RVE containing multiple inclusions. This work can be applied to analyze the hyperelastic properties of biological soft composites.2). κm = 1.6GPa. Three typical shapes of inclusions have been considered. including spheres.. and muscles. Here. SCM and DM are suggested for higher inclusion volume fractions. and thin platelets. c < 0. e. and κp = 5.Micromechanics methods for evaluating the effective moduli Fig. It is shown that DCM can well predict the effective moduli of neo-Hookean composites when the inclusion concentration is low (e.. blood vessels. Finite element simulations are also performed to examine the feasibility of DM in predicting the mechanical properties of neo-Hookean composites undergoing large deformations. 5 Comparison of the average strain energy density obtained from DM (WeffTH ) and FEM (W FE ) under uniaxial tension. .0GPa predicting the average strain energy density of neo-Hookean composites reinforced by uniformly distributed spherical particles. long fibers. while MTM.g.0GPa. μp = 1.g.

Acknowledgments Supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. (58) into (57) produces   2 σi j = 2μεi j + κ − μ εkk δi j . H can be written in a matrix form [39] as ⎡ ⎤ d g g ⎢ h b+e b−e ⎥ ⎢ 2 2 ⎥ ⎢ ⎥ ⎢ h b−e b+e ⎥ H=⎢ 2 2 ⎥. j + u j. the Cauchy stress tensor can be derived as ∂W  μ  −1/2 −5/6 −5/6 1/2 σ = I3 F· = μI3 F · FT + − I1 I3 + κ I3 − κ I. (58) where εi = λi − 1 are the principal Cauchy strains. . According to the theory of nonlinear elasticity [43]. The displacement of the material point is u = x − X. When it has rotational symmetry about the x1 axis. j ei e j .k + μI3 − μI1 I3 + κ I3 − κ δi j . g = H1122 . in the cases of infinitesimal deformation.-Z. 11432008 and 11542005) and Tsinghua University (20121087991) are acknowledged. we obtain the Cauchy stresses   −5/6   −5/6 1 −5/6 1/2 σi j = μI3 u i. 2. Substituting Eq. (56) ∂F 3 where I is the second-order identical tensor. λ3 }. 3) being the principal stretches.   In the case of infinitesimal deformation. respectively. and ei are the base vectors. substituting Eq. Thus the deformation gradient tensor F reads ∂x ∂u   F= =I+ = δi j + u i. u i. Lin et al. λ2 . Therefore. (60) ⎢ e ⎥ ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ f ⎦ f where the six italic alphabets a – f are defined by b = 2H2222 − 2H2323 . h = H2211 . (55) ∂X ∂X where δi j is the Kronecker delta. Correspondingly. (55) into (56). (57) 3 In the principal stretch coordinate system. the deformation gradient tensor becomes F = diag {λ1 . (59) 3 where εi j denote the Cauchy strains. I3 = 1 + 2 (ε1 + ε2 + ε3 ) + · · · . I1 and I3 can be re-expressed as   I1 = 3 + 2 (ε1 + ε2 + ε3 ) + ε12 + ε22 + ε32 .k u j. e = 2H2323 . (1) in the main text degenerates to the linear elastic Hooke’s law. the neo-Hookean constitutive model in Eq. (1) in the main text. with λi (i = 1.i + u i. S. u i. j  << 1. f = 2H1212 . Appendix B: Simplified calculation of transversely isotropic tensors An arbitrary transversely isotropic tensor H possesses six independent parameters. Appendix A: Nonlinear elasticity Refer to X and x as the position of a material point in the initial and current configurations. j = ∂u i /∂ X j are the displacement gradients. The strain energy density function of a neo-Hookean hyperelastic material can be expressed as Eq. (61) d = H1111 .

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