This paper addresses the problem of calculating effective elastic properties of a solid containing multiple cracks with prescribed orientation statistics. To do so, the representative unit cell approach has been used. The microgeometry of a cracked solid is modeled by a periodic structure with a unit cell containing multiple cracks: a sufficient number is taken to account for the microstructure statistics. The developed method combines the superposition principle, the technique of complex potentials and certain new results in the theory of special functions. A proper choice of potentials provides reducing the boundary-value problem to an ordinary, well-posed set of linear algebraic equations. The exact finite form expression of the effective stiffness tensor has been obtained by analytical averaging the strain and stress fields. The convergence study has been performed: the statistically meaningful results obtained show dependence of the effective elastic stiffness on angular scattering of cracks. Comparison has been made with the selected simple micromechanical models, namely, non-interaction approximation, differential scheme and modified differential scheme. It is found that, among these models, the differential scheme provides the best fit of the numerical data. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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