Effect of network architecture on the mechanical behavior of random fiber networks

[+] Author and Article Information
Mohammad Islam

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180

Catalin Picu

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040245 History: Received April 05, 2018; Revised May 07, 2018


Fiber based materials are prevalent around us. While microscopically these systems resemble a discrete assembly of randomly interconnected fibers, the network architecture varies from one system to another. To identify the role of the network architecture, we study here cellular and fibrous random networks in tension and compression, and in the context of large strain elasticity. We observe that, compared to cellular networks of same global parameter set, fibrous networks exhibit in tension higher strain stiffening, reduced fiber alignment and reduced Poisson contraction in uniaxial tension. These effects are due to the larger number of kinematic constraints in the form of cross-links per fiber in the fibrous case. The dependence of the small strain modulus on network density is cubic in the fibrous case and quadratic in the cellular case. This difference persists when the number of cross-links per fiber in the fibrous case is rendered equal to that of the cellular case, which indicates that the different scaling is due to the higher structural disorder of the fibrous networks. The behavior of the two network types in compression is similar, although softening induced by fiber buckling and strain localization is less pronounced in the fibrous case. The contribution of transient inter-fiber contacts is weak in tension and important in compression.

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