Strain gradient plasticity effects in whisker-reinforced metals

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A metal reinforced by fibers in the micron range is studied using the strain gradient plasticity theory of Fleck and Hutchinson (J. Mech. Phys. Solids 49 (2001) 2245). Cell-model analyses are used to study the influence of the material length parameters numerically, for both a single parameter version and the multiparameter theory, and significant differences between the predictions of the two models are reported. It is shown that modeling fiber elasticity is important when using the present theories. A significant stiffening effect when compared to conventional models is predicted, which is a result of a significant decrease in the level of plastic strain. Moreover, it is shown that the relative stiffening effect increases with fiber volume fraction. The higher-order nature of the theories allows for different higher-order boundary conditions at the fiber-matrix interface, and these boundary conditions are found to be of importance. Furthermore, the influence of the material length parameters on the stresses along the interface between the fiber and the matrix material is discussed, as well as the stresses within the elastic fiber which are of importance for fiber breakage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1863-1883
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Strain gradient plasticity
  • Size effects
  • Fiber-reinforced composite material
  • Elastic-plastic material
  • Finite elements

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