Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Wenbin Yu


Wenbin Yu


Steven L. Folkman


Thomas H. Fronk


Ling Liu


Marvin W. Halling


Modern technologies require the materials with combinations of properties that can not be met by conventional single phase materials. This requirement leads to the development of composite materials or other materials with engineered microstructures, such as polymer composites and nanotube. Though the well-established finite element analysis (FEA) has the ability to analyze a small portion of such material, for the whole structure, the total degrees of freedom of a finite element model can easily exceed the bearable time in analysis or the capability of the best mainstream computers. To reduce the total degrees of freedom and save the computational efforts, an efficient way is to use a simpler and coarser mesh at the structure level with the micro level complexities captured by a homogenization method. Throughout the dissertation, the homogenization is carried on by variational asymptotic method which has been developed recently as the Variational Asymptotic Method for Unit Cell Homogenization (VAMUCH). This methodology is also expandable to the structure analysis as long as a representative structural element (RSE) can be obtained from structure. In the present research, the following problems are handled: (1) Maximizing the flexibility of choosing a RSE; (2) Bounding the effective properties of a random RSE; (3) Obtaining the equivalent plate stiffnesses for a corrugated plate from a RSE; (4) Extending the shell element of relative degree of freedom to analyze thin-walled RSE. These problems covered some important topics in homogenization theory. Firstly, the rules need to be followed when choosing a unit cell from a structure that can be homogenized. Secondly, for a randomly packed structure, the efficient way to predict effective material properties is to predict their bounds. Then, the composite material homogenization and the structural homogenization can be unied from a mathematical point of view, thus the repeating structure can be always simplified by the homogenization method. Lastly, the efficiency of analyzing thin-walled structures has been enhanced by the new type of shell element. In this research, the first two topics have been solved numerically through the finite element method under the framework of VAMUCH. The third one has been solved both analytically and numerically, and in the last, a new type of element has been implemented in VAMUCH to adapt the characteristics of a thin-walled problem. Numerous examples have demonstrated VAMUCH application and accuracy as a general-purpose analysis tool.



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