Comparison of the finite strain macroscopic behavior and local damage of a soft matrix highly reinforced by spherical or polyhedral particles
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Motivated by the different uniaxial responses of two actual materials filled with either sifted glass beads or sifted glass grits, the influence of the fillers shape on the finite strain behavior of highly filled composites (>50%) is examined through micromechanical finite element simulations accounting for matrix/filler debonding with a cohesive-zone model. Three-dimensional matrix cells filled with 64 monosized spherical particles are compared to cells filled with the same number of monosized polyhedra. For this purpose, an original generation process was developed to obtain periodic cells with random dispersions of non-regular polyhedra. Finite element simulations of uniaxial tensile tests on the periodic cells allow studying the influence of the fillers shape on the macroscopic behavior and on the local damage at the matrix/filler interfaces. Actually, the presence of sharp edges and apexes for polyhedral particles seems to have a second order impact compared to the cohesive-zone parameters. The damage fields demonstrate the same trends for both particles shapes. The different behaviors observed on actual composites are rather due to different adhesion properties between fillers and matrix than to the shape of particles.
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