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A geometrical inclusion-matrix model for the finite element analysis of concrete at multiple scales
(2003)

This paper introduces a method to generate adequate inclusion-matrix geometries of concrete in two and three dimensions, which are independent of any specific numerical discretization. The article starts with an analysis on shapes of natural aggregates and discusses corresponding mathematical realizations. As a first prototype a two-dimensional generation of a mesoscale model is introduced. Particle size distribution functions are analysed and prepared for simulating an adequate three-dimensional representation of the aggregates within a concrete structure. A sample geometry of a three-dimensional test cube is generated and the finite element analysis of its heterogeneous geometry by a uniform mesh is presented. Concluding, aspects of a multiscale analysis are discussed and possible enhancements are proposed.

The nonlinear behavior of concrete can be attributed to the propagation of microcracks within the heterogeneous internal material structure. In this thesis, a mesoscale model is developed which allows for the explicit simulation of these microcracks. Consequently, the actual physical phenomena causing the complex nonlinear macroscopic behavior of concrete can be represented using rather simple material formulations. On the mesoscale, the numerical model explicitly resolves the components of the internal material structure. For concrete, a three-phase model consisting of aggregates, mortar matrix and interfacial transition zone is proposed. Based on prescribed grading curves, an efficient algorithm for the generation of three-dimensional aggregate distributions using ellipsoids is presented. In the numerical model, tensile failure of the mortar matrix is described using a continuum damage approach. In order to reduce spurious mesh sensitivities, introduced by the softening behavior of the matrix material, nonlocal integral-type material formulations are applied. The propagation of cracks at the interface between aggregates and mortar matrix is represented in a discrete way using a cohesive crack approach. The iterative solution procedure is stabilized using a new path following constraint within the framework of load-displacement-constraint methods which allows for an efficient representation of snap-back phenomena. In several examples, the influence of the randomly generated heterogeneous material structure on the stochastic scatter of the results is analyzed. Furthermore, the ability of mesoscale models to represent size effects is investigated. Mesoscale simulations require the discretization of the internal material structure. Compared to simulations on the macroscale, the numerical effort and the memory demand increases dramatically. Due to the complexity of the numerical model, mesoscale simulations are, in general, limited to small specimens. In this thesis, an adaptive heterogeneous multiscale approach is presented which allows for the incorporation of mesoscale models within nonlinear simulations of concrete structures. In heterogeneous multiscale models, only critical regions, i.e. regions in which damage develops, are resolved on the mesoscale, whereas undamaged or sparsely damage regions are modeled on the macroscale. A crucial point in simulations with heterogeneous multiscale models is the coupling of sub-domains discretized on different length scales. The sub-domains differ not only in the size of the finite elements but also in the constitutive description. In this thesis, different methods for the coupling of non-matching discretizations - constraint equations, the mortar method and the arlequin method - are investigated and the application to heterogeneous multiscale models is presented. Another important point is the detection of critical regions. An adaptive solution procedure allowing the transfer of macroscale sub-domains to the mesoscale is proposed. In this context, several indicators which trigger the model adaptation are introduced. Finally, the application of the proposed adaptive heterogeneous multiscale approach in nonlinear simulations of concrete structures is presented.