Computational micromechanical analysis of the representative volume element of bituminous composite materials

Hasan Ozer, Ziad G. Ghauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Micromechanical computational modeling is used in this study to determine the smallest domain, or Representative Volume Element (RVE), that can be used to characterize the effective properties of composite materials such as Asphalt Concrete (AC). Computational Finite Element (FE) micromechanical modeling was coupled with digital image analysis of surface scans of AC specimens. Three mixtures with varying Nominal Maximum Aggregate Size (NMAS) of 4.75 mm, 12.5 mm, and 25 mm, were prepared for digital image analysis and computational micromechanical modeling. The effects of window size and phase modulus mismatch on the apparent viscoelastic response of the composite were numerically examined. A good agreement was observed in the RVE size predictions based on micromechanical computational modeling and image analysis. Micromechanical results indicated that a degradation in the matrix stiffness increases the corresponding RVE size. Statistical homogeneity was observed for window sizes equal to two to three times the NMAS. A model was presented for relating the degree of statistical homogeneity associated with each window size for materials with varying inclusion dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
JournalMechanics of Time-Dependent Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Asphalt concrete
  • Finite element method
  • Micromechanical modeling
  • Representative volume element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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