Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
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Section: Application Domains

Mechanics of heterogeneous media

The mechanics of heterogeneous materials aims at characterizing the macroscopic properties of heterogeneous materials using the properties of their constituents.

The homogenization theory is a natural tool for this task. In particular, for linear problems (linear conductivity or linear elasticity), the macroscopic properties are encoded into a single (conductivity or elasticity) homogenized tensor. The numerical approximation of this homogenized tensor is a typical objective of quantitative homogenization.

For nonlinear problems, such as rubber elasticity, the macroscopic properties are no longer characterized by a single tensor, but rather by a nonlinear energy density. Our aim is to relate qualitatively and quantitatively the (precise but unpractical) statistical physics picture to explicit macroscopic constitutive laws that can be used for practical purposes. This endeavor is relevant both in science and technology. The rigorous derivation of rubber elasticity from polymer-physics was indeed emphasized by John Ball as an important open problem of nonlinear elasticity in his survey [40] on the field. Its solution could shed light on some aspects of polymer-physics. The associated ab initio derivation of constitutive laws (as an alternative to phenomenological laws) would also be of interest to computational mechanics and rubber industry.

For this application domain, we work in close collaboration with physicists (François Lequeux, ESPCI) and researchers from mechanics and computational mechanics (Patrick Le Tallec, Ecole polytechnique).