Three-dimensional visualization and microstructure-based modeling of deformation in particle-reinforced composites

Nikhilesh Chawla, R. S. Sidhu, V. V. Ganesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


Modeling and prediction of the overall elastic-plastic response and local damage mechanisms in composite materials, in particular particle-reinforced composites, is a very complex problem. This is because microstructural aspects of the composite, such as particle size, shape, and distribution, play important roles in deformation behavior. Analytical models and numerical models that simplify the microstructure of the composite do not account for the microstructural factors that influence the mechanical behavior of the material. In this paper we describe a serial sectioning process, followed by finite element method (FEM) simulation, to reproduce, visualize, and model the three-dimensional (3D) microstructure of particle-reinforced metal matrix composites. The 3D microstructure-based FEM accurately represents the alignment, aspect ratio, and distribution of the particles. Comparison with single-particle and multiparticle models of simple shape (spherical and ellipsoidal) shows that the 3D microstructure-based approach is more accurate in simulating and understanding macroscopic and microscopic material behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1541-1548
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Composites
  • Finite element method
  • Modeling
  • SiC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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