Identification of RVE length scale in fiber composites via combined optical and SEM digital image correlation

Behrad Koohbor, Christopher B. Montgomery, Nancy R. Sottos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The representative volume element (RVE) in fiber composites refers to the smallest volume of material that contains all constituents of the composite, i.e., fiber and matrix, and is a domain in which the homogenization of microscale response will lead to the macroscale behavior. Therefore, the RVE size in fiber composites is the length scale at which micro to macroscale transition occurs. In this work, a multiscale experimental approach is developed to experimentally characterize the length scale of RVE in a carbon fiber composite with a random fiber distribution. The approach is based on combining optical and scanning electron microscope (SEM) digital image correlation (DIC) measurements. A statistical procedure based on spatial averaging of local strain data is applied to the strain fields obtained from optical and SEM DIC measurements. The convergence between local strains averaged over a carefully selected domain and global strains is used as the criterion for identifying the RVE size in the examined composite. The RVE sizes determined using this approach are stress dependent and increase with the evolution of internal damage in the composite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109613
JournalComposites Science and Technology
StatePublished - Aug 18 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • General Engineering


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