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Approximation of random microstructures by periodic statistically similar representative volume elements based on lineal-path functions
For the direct incorporation of micromechanical information into macroscopic boundary value problems, the FE2-method provides a suitable numerical framework. Here, an additional microscopic boundary value problem, based on evaluations of representative volume elements (RVEs), is attached to each Gauss point of the discretized macrostructure. However, for real random heterogeneous microstructures the choice of a "large" RVE with a huge number of inclusions is much too time-consuming for the simulation of complex macroscopic boundary value problems, especially when history-dependent constitutive laws are adapted for the description of individual phases of the mircostructure. Therefore, we propose a method for the construction of statistically similar RVEs (SSRVEs), which have much less complexity but reflect the essential morphological attributes of the microscale. If this procedure is prosperous, we arrive at the conclusion that the SSRVEs can be discretized with significantly less degrees of freedom than the original microstructure. The basic idea for the design of such SSRVEs is to minimize a least-square functional taking into account suitable statistical measures, which characterize the inclusion morphology. It turns out that the combination of the volume fraction and the spectral density seems not to be sufficient. Therefore, a hybrid reconstruction method, which takes into account the lineal-path function additionally, is proposed that yields promising realizations of the SSRVEs. In order to demonstrate the performance of the proposed procedure, we analyze several representative numerical examples. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.