Three dimensional (3D) microstructure-based modeling of interfacial decohesion in particle reinforced metal matrix composites

J. J. Williams, J. Segurado, J. LLorca, Nikhilesh Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Modeling and prediction of the overall elastic-plastic response and local damage mechanisms in heterogeneous materials, in particular particle reinforced composites, is a very complex problem. Microstructural complexities such as the inhomogeneous spatial distribution of particles, irregular morphology of the particles, and anisotropy in particle orientation after secondary processing, such as extrusion, significantly affect deformation behavior. We have studied the effect of particle/matrix interface debonding in SiC particle reinforced Al alloy matrix composites with (a) actual microstructure consisting of angular SiC particles and (b) idealized ellipsoidal SiC particles. Tensile deformation in SiC particle reinforced Al matrix composites was modeled using actual microstructures reconstructed from serial sectioning approach. Interfacial debonding was modeled using user-defined cohesive zone elements.Modeling with the actual microstructure (versus idealized ellipsoids) has a significant influence on: (a) localized stresses and strains in particle and matrix, and (b) far-field strain at which localized debonding takes place. The angular particles exhibited higher degree of load transfer and are more sensitive to interfacial debonding. Larger decreases in stress are observed in the angular particles, because of the flat surfaces, normal to the loading axis, which bear load. Furthermore, simplification of particle morphology may lead to erroneous results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering: A
StatePublished - Nov 15 2012


  • Cohesive crack model
  • Finite element method
  • Interfacial decohesion
  • Metal matrix composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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