Experimental determination of Representative Volume Element (RVE) size in woven composites

Behrad Koohbor, Suraj Ravindran, Addis Kidane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A systematic approach is proposed to estimate the length scales of the representative volume element (RVE) in orthogonal plain woven composites. The approach is based on experimental full-field deformation measurements at mesoscopic scales. Stereovision digital image correlation (DIC) is conducted to determine the full-field strain distribution in on- and off-axis specimens loaded axially in tension. A sensitivity analysis is carried out to optimize the image correlation parameters. Using the optimized set of image correlation parameters, full-field strains are measured and used in conjunction with a simple strain averaging algorithm to identify the length scales at which globally applied and spatially-averaged local strains converge in values. The size of a virtual window containing local strain data, the average of which has the same value as the global strain, is identified as the RVE dimensions for the examined material. The smallest RVE sizes found in this work are shown to be both strain and angle dependent. The largest RVE dimension obtained is reported as a unique, strain and orientation insensitive RVE size for the woven composite examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalOptics and Lasers in Engineering
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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