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Front. Archit. Civ. Eng. China 2010, 4(3): 396401 DOI 10.



Vladimr KOMPI, Zuzana MURINKOV, Sergey RJASANOW, Richards GRZIBOVSKIS, Qinghua QIN

Computational simulation methods for ber reinforced composites

Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Abstract Trefftz-nite element method (Trefftz-FEM), adaptive cross approximation BEM (ACA BEM) and continuous source function method (CSFM) are used for the simulation of composites reinforced by short bers (CRSF) with the aim of showing the possibilities of reducing the problem of complicated and important interactions in such composite materials. Keywords Trefftz-nite element method (Trefftz-FEM), adaptive cross approximation BEM (ACA BEM), method of continuous source functions, composite materials, short bers


Fibers are the most effective reinforcing material. Outstanding mechanical, thermal and electro-mechanical properties of carbon nano-tubes (CNT), carbon bers and some other bers are well known. Composites reinforced by short bers/tubes (CRSF) are often dened to be materials of the future with excellent electro-thermomechanical (ETM) properties. Understanding the behavior of such composite materials is essential for structural
Received July 20, 2009; accepted December 12, 2009 Vladimr KOMPI ( ) DSSI, j.s.c., Wolkrova 4, 82105 Bratislava, Slovakia E-mail: Zuzana MURINKOV Technical University Koice, Faculty of Manufacturing Technologies, trova 31, 080 01 Preov, Slovakia Sergey RJASANOW, Richards GRZIBOVSKIS Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Saarland, Saarbrcken, Germany Qinghua QIN Department of Engineering, Australian National University, ACT, Australia

design. Computational simulations play an important role in this process. Usually strength, stiffness, thermal and electrical conduction of bers are much larger than those of the matrix material. The aspect ratio of the short bers is mostly very large. Because of these properties very large gradients are localized in all ETM elds along the bers and in the matrix. The elds dene the interaction of the bers with the matrix, with the other bers, and with the boundaries of the domain/structure. Accurate computational simulation of the elds is important for correct assessment of the material behavior. In this paper nite element method (FEM), boundary element method (BEM) and the new developed continuous source function method (CSFM) are compared for simulation of CRSF. The problems with inhomogeneities can be reduced when the FEM using special (Trefftz-type) functions is used for the formulation. The BEM reduces the original 3D formulation to the problem on the ber-matrix boundary. Although the resulting Galerkin system is fully populated, novel techniques can be applied to approximate it by a data-sparse structure. In this study the adaptive cross approximation (ACA) procedure combined with the Hmatrix technique is used to achieve this reduction of complexity and storage requirements. Drastic reduction of the problem enables the fast multi-pole (FM) BEM [1] by which the kernel functions of boundary integrals are substituted by corresponding truncated Taylor series expansion and resulting discrete dipoles and moments are substituted for the continuum in far eld interaction. However, the near eld interaction is solved by classical BEM formulation. Boundary meshless methods usually need neither the discretization of the domain, nor the boundary. In the special problem like CRSF, 1D distributed source functions by the CSFM enable to reduce drastically the problem comparing to the FMBEM also for the near eld interaction. All three methods are presented in simulation of the CRSF problems. None of the methods used is described in this paper but references to all methods are given and so the reader can nd all details containing description and basis of the methods.

Vladimr KOMPI et al. Computational simulation methods for ber reinforced composites


2 Description of methods used in computation models

Trefftz-type formulations were developed with the aim of enabling formulation of domain eld by boundary parameters using shape functions which satisfy the governing equations in corresponding domain/subdomain. Commercial FEM package PROCISION [2] contains two types of T-elements: polynomial and nonpolynomial stress concentration elements. The last element properly reects asymptotic behavior of exact solution in the region of stress concentration. The solution is obtained by adaptive procedure by comparing the strain energy in computational steps and it is stopped when the change in the last two steps is smaller than 1%. The T-nite elements (FEs) can be much larger than classical FEs also for complicated shape of the element. The global and local (element) errors are evaluated from the subdomain (element) boundary conditions. The accuracy of the element is increased by increasing the order of the T-polynomials of the shape function and it can increase up to the 12th order in the models. The second approach used in this study is the BEM for equations of linear elastostatics (Lam system of equations). More precisely, a Galerkin formulation of BEM with piecewise linear basis functions is implemented to interpolate the displacement eld and piecewise constant basis functions for the tractions on the boundary. The input data consist of phase geometry, material parameters, and the conditions at innity. Hence, an interface problem is formulated, and the solution on the matrix-ber boundary is found by inverting the Steklov-Poincar operator. The operator is expressed through the hyper-singular, the double layer, the adjoint double layer, and the single layer operators and its Galerkin discretization turns out to be symmetric and positive denite matrix. This enables us to use the conjugate gradient iterative method to nd the solution. Moreover, a hierarchical clustering of boundary elements is used to partition each of the Galerkin matrices into blocks. The blocks that represent interactions of well separated clusters are replaced by their low rank approximants. The approximants are found by means of the ACA procedure [3,4]. The overall complexity and memory requirement of the described Galerkin BEM is, up to a log factor, linear in terms of the number of mesh nodes. The accuracy, however, is of the second order for the displacement eld and the stress eld inside either phase or matrix material. Mathematical properties of the method were extensively explored and its approximation errors are rigorously estimated [4]. We underline the mathematically justied second order accuracy of the stress eld inside the domains as main advantage of this technique used in the computational models. The third approach is a boundary meshless method, the CSFM [5], which uses 1D continuous forces (the

fundamental or Kelvin solution well known from the BEM), dipoles and couples along the ber axis to simulate the ber-matrix-ber interaction. The interaction is simulated by satisfying continuity of displacements and strains along the ber-matrix interface in collocation points located on ber boundaries. The continuous distribution of the source functions is approximated by non-uniform rational B-splines (NURBS). Quadratic B-splines have been used in the models. The aspect ratio bers of the bers is usually very large and the stiffness of material of the bers is often much larger than the stiffness of the matrix. Then the axial stiffness of the ber is also much larger than its bending and torsion stiffness and it is possible to assume that the strain is approximately constant in each cross section of the ber in the ber direction. If the bers are symmetrically distributed around a ber than ctive forces or dipoles in the ber direction and other dipoles perpendicular to the ber axis direction continuously distributed along the ber axis can simulate the interaction of the ber with the matrix and with other bers with good accuracy. However, if the bers are irregularly distributed in the matrix and/or the bers are curved, then additional couples with their vectors perpendicular to the ber axis are necessary to obtain resulting cross sectional force acting approximately in the ber axis and so, simulates the stiffening effect with good accuracy. The integrals giving resulting action of the source functions in the collocation points are quasi-singular or quasi-hypersingular and can be evaluated numerically or analytically by symbolic manipulation. In these models, numerical Gauss ve point quadratures were used to evaluate the integrals. Heat sources and heat dipoles are used as source functions to simulate the temperature eld interactions of bers with matrix and with other bers [6]. The number of collocation points is usually larger than the number of parameters dening the intensities of source functions and the problem is solved in the least square sense. The matrix is full and so restricted for computations of large problems by smaller computers.

Computational results and conclusions

Computations were performed for several problems in order to compare all FEM, BEM and meshless formulations for linear elasticity and stationary heat ow in solids. The results have to document present possibilities of the methods used for the simulations and some behavior of the composite material. Figures 1 and 2 contain the mesh for Trefftz-FEM and for BEM used for one ber with aspect ratio 110. The results obtained by all methods are compared in Table 1. Because of linear problems, all quantities are dimensionless. Material modules of matrix and ber are 104 and 106, respectively, for one ber and 1900 and 1.9106, respectively, for a patch of 333


Front. Archit. Civ. Eng. China 2010, 4(3): 396401

Table 1

Comparison of results for one ber with aspect ratio 110

Trefftz-FEM 88 262 ACA BEM 1266 3540 265 MCSF 36 249

R = 5, L = 100 number of equations number of elements stress in direction of ber axis/MPa

bers without overlap. Figure 3 gives force distribution along a single ber in the matrix with aspect ratios 110 and 150, respectively. Fibers in a patch with and without overlap are shown in Fig. 4. Stresses in the ber direction for a patch of 333 bers without overlap by TrefftzFEM are presented in Fig. 5 (only the halves of the bers are shown in the gure). Figures 6 to 9 present heat ow in

Fig. 3 Force distribution along single ber in the matrix with aspect ratios 110 and 150 by CSFM Fig. 1 Trefftz-FEM Analysis. (a) Trefftz-FEM mesh; (b) detail on ber end

Fig. 4 Fibers in a patch with and without overlap

Fig. 2 BEM meshes

Fig. 5 Stress in direction of ber axis for a patch of 333 bers by Trefftz-FEM

Vladimr KOMPI et al. Computational simulation methods for ber reinforced composites


Fig. 6 Heat ow through ber surface in perpendicular direction along ber axis of R = 1 and L = 1000

Fig. 7 Heat ow through cross-section along ber axis of R = 1 and L = 1000

Fig. 8

Heat ow through ber surface in perpendicular direction along ber axis of R = 1 and L = 100


Front. Archit. Civ. Eng. China 2010, 4(3): 396401

Fig. 9 Heat ow through cross-section along ber axis of R = 1 and L = 100

the ber both in ber direction (through the ber/matrix interface in Figs. 6 and 8) and resulting ow through the ber cross-section in Figs. 7 and 9. In all cases the bers with radius R = 1 and length L = 1000 (see Figs. 6 and 7) and L = 100 (see Figs. 8 and 9) are regularly distributed in layers with or without overlap. The ber axes are spaced by 16 from each other in the perpendicular direction and gaps of 16 and 160, respectively in the ber direction in the examples given in Figs. 6 and 7 and by 2 and with gap of 2 in examples shown in Figs. 8 and 9. In Figs. 6 and 7, the dot line represents results of the model without and the solid line with overlap and gap 16, the dash line with overlap and gap 160. In Figs. 8 and 9, the solid line represents results of the model without and the dashed line with overlap. The results show that both elasticity and temperature elds have similar behavior. The bers, which are much stiffer and have much better conductivity than the matrix, can considerably increase the stiffness and conductivity of the composite material in the ber direction. There is very strong interaction between all bers and matrix and neighbour bers and, the topology of the bers can strongly inuence the effect. The stress in ber direction can exceed the stresses in the matrix and in the ber-matrix interface by several orders and so the short bers are the most effective reinforcing material. All three methods imply considerable problem reduction; however, the Trefftz-FEM reductions smooth out the gradients and so, it is not suitable to simulate the interaction of bers. If the interaction should be simulated correctly, much ner mesh should be used also in the parts which do not contain the ber and the reduction of the problem would be poor. The ACA BEM is able to simulate correctly all interactions. Comparing the results with different meshes as shown in Fig. 2, it was found that the results by ner

meshes differ only little and so the middle mesh is ne enough. However, if the aspect ratio is large, the number of equations will be very large for the models. The resulting system of equations is sparse and so, it is a way of reduction of the problem. Simplest method resulting in largest reductions is the CSFM. As it is a meshless method, the modeling of general topology with curved bers is also very simple by 1D NURBS.

4 Possible strategy of general model of the composite material reinforced by short bers
Results from the simulations and experience on behavior of the composites reinforced by short bers give us an idea on a possible strategy for modeling general composite materials reinforced by short bers. Such materials behave very differently from composite materials reinforced by particles where the aspect ratio is close to one [1,7]. Going from the assumptions that bers are (much) stiffer and their conductivity is much better than that of the matrix, the aspect ratio of bers is large and all matrix and bers are homogeneous, and their ETM properties are linear, computational model based on CSFM is considered to be developed. The control volume element (CVE) for homogenization usually has to contain many hundreds or even many thousands of bers and the distances between the bers are small compared to their length even for small percentage of volume of the bers in the CVE, the interaction of bers is very strong and important and the physical elds in all matrix and bers have large gradients. Iterative procedure, which is very effective also for materials reinforced by particles with small aspect ratio [7] with parallelization of computational strategy, is assumed.

Vladimr KOMPI et al. Computational simulation methods for ber reinforced composites


In the rst step, it is supposed that bers are rigid/very stiff in the ber direction and their bending stiffness is negligible. The shape of bers is dened by 3D quadratic NURBS. In parallel computational models the interaction of each two bers of all bers in the model with matrix for given far eld (main) strain in innity is considered. Fully populated matrix obtained by the CSFM is solved by LS method: Aij xj bi , (1)

matrix and to improve the continuity conditions in each ber (by manipulation of the matrix A in Eq. (1) and following by the next solution of Eq. (2)). Similar conditions pay for heat ux as well as for strain in the ber. Although the conductivity of the ber is much higher than that of the matrix, the large heat ux in the ber can inuence the temperature distribution in the ber and its approximation by a constant value in the rst iteration step has to be corrected in the next iterations.
Acknowledgements Support of the DSSI, Grant agencies APVV (No. APVT-20-035404) and RTO-NATO (No. 001-AVT-SVK) and VEGA (No. 0/ 0140/08) for this research is gratefully acknowledged.

where the indices i and j correspond to collocation point d.o.f. and NURBS shape function. Aij , xj and bi are source function [5], intensity of NURBS shape function and continuity (boundary) condition in the collocation point, respectively. The continuity conditions are the same for corresponding ber in interaction with all bers considered from the CVE patch. In the next step interaction of all bers in the CVE will be taken into account. However, only closest bers will be considered to inuence the eld in the corresponding ber and so, sparse matrix will be obtained: Bij cj qi : (2)

1. Liu Y L, Nishimura N, Otani Y, Takahashi T, Chen X L, Munakata H. A fast boundary element method for the analysis of ber-reinforced composites based on a rigid-inclusion model. ASME Journal of Applied Mechnics, 2005, 72: 115128 2. Procision Analysis Inc. A Guide to PROCISION 3.5. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, 1999 3. Bebendorf M, Grzhibovskis R. Accelerating Galerkin BEM for linear elasticity using adaptive cross approximation. Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences, 2006, 29(14): 17211747 4. Rjasanow S, Steinbach O. The Fast Solution of Boundary Integral Equations. Springer Series in Mathematical and Analytical Technology with Applications to Engineering. New York: Springer, 2007 5. Kompi V, tiavnick M, Kompi M, Murinkov Z, Qin Q H. Method of continuous source functions for modelling of matrix reinforced by nite bres. In: Kompi V, ed. Composites with Microand Nano-Structure: Computational Modeling and Experiments. Computational Methods in Applied Sciences. New York: Springer, 2008 6. Kompi V, Murinkov Z. Heat ow in composites reinforced by short bres. In: Proceedings of Conference Computer Methods in Mechanics, Zielona Gora. 2009 7. Kompi V, tiavnick M, Qin Q H. Efcient solution for composites reinforced by particles. In: Manolis G D, PolyzosD, eds. Recent Advances in Boundary Element Methods. Springer Series Computational Methods in Applied Sciences. New York: Springer, 2009

In this case the indices i and j correspond to each ber in the model. Bij is the total intensity of source functions between corresponding pair of bers, i.e. the sum of the vector x obtained by Eq. (1). R.h.s. of Eq. (2) is the vector of units. Matrix B is squared and sparse as it will contain only interaction of closest bers (chosen by some rule, i.e. from properties of the matrix A giving the interaction of corresponding pair of bers). The elements of the vector c will give contribution of each pair of bers to satisfy continuity conditions along all bers (partition of unity). The interaction, and thus the number of bers taking into account for interaction, is different in the axis direction and in the perpendicular direction to ber axis and depends on the whole topology of the composite. As the stresses in bers can exceed all stresses in the matrix by several orders, if the aspect ratio of corresponding ber is large, an iteration procedure is necessary to take into account strains in bers comparable to those in the