Computational Mechanics

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 73–95 | Cite as

A comparison of homogenization and standard mechanics analyses for periodic porous composites

  • S. J. Hollister
  • N. Kikuchi


Composite material elastic behavior has been studied using many approaches, all of which are based on the concept of a Representative Volume Element (RVE). Most methods accurately estimate effective elastic properties when the ratio of the RVE size to the global structural dimensions, denoted here as ν, goes to zero. However, many composites are locally periodic with finite ν. The purpose of this paper was to compare homogenization and standard mechanics RVE based analyses for periodic porous composites with finite ν. Both methods were implemented using a displacement based finite element formulation. For one-dimensional analyses of composite bars the two methods were equivalent. Howver, for two- and three-dimensional analyses the methods were quite different due to the fact that the local RVE stress and strain state was not determined uniquely by the applied boundary conditions. For two-dimensional analyses of porous periodic composites the effective material properties predicted by standard mechanics approaches using multiple cell RVEs converged to the homogenization predictions using one cell. In addition, homogenization estimates of local strain energy density were within 30% of direct analyses while standard mechanics approaches generally differed from direct analyses by more than 70%. These results suggest that homogenization theory is preferable over standard mechanics of materials approaches for periodic composites even when the material is only locally periodic and ν is finite.


Representative Volume Element Direct Analysis Strain Energy Density Finite Element Formulation Homogenization Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Hollister
    • 1
  • N. Kikuchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Section of Orthopaedic SurgeryThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Computational Mechanics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied MechanicsThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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