Document Type


Date of Original Version



Civil and Environmental Engineering


This study reports the influence of inclusion stiffness and its distribution on the stress distributions in the microstructural phases of different cementitious mortars using microstructure-guided finite element simulations. Randomly generated periodic microstructures with single/multiple inclusion sizes and random spatial distribution, subjected to periodic boundary conditions and a strain-controlled virtual testing regime are chosen for final analysis. Numerical simulations reveal: (i) the differences in locations/magnitudes of stress concentrations as a function of inclusion stiffness and size distribution, and (ii) the sometimes detrimental influence of matrix and interface stiffening/strengthening on the overall composite response, leading to material design strategies when non-conventional inclusions are used in cementitious systems for special properties. The constitutive behavior in the linear elastic regime is extracted based on the predicted dominant principal stresses and strains in the representative area element. Thus, in addition to the microstructural phase stresses, this methodology also provides predictions of the composite elastic modulus, which are observed to be more reliable than those obtained from analytical prediction models.