Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Spandan Maiti


Heterogeneous materials are ubiquitous in nature and as synthetic materials. These materials provide unique combination of desirable mechanical properties emerging from its heterogeneities at different length scales. Future structural and technological applications will require the development of advanced light weight materials with superior strength and toughness. Cost effective design of the advanced high performance synthetic materials by tailoring their microstructure is the challenge facing the materials design community. Prior knowledge of structure-property relationships for these materials is imperative for optimal design. Thus, understanding such relationships for heterogeneous materials is of primary interest. Furthermore, computational burden is becoming critical concern in several areas of heterogeneous materials design. Therefore, computationally efficient and accurate predictive tools are highly essential.

In the present study, we mainly focus on mechanical behavior of soft cellular materials and tough biological material such as mussel byssus thread. Cellular materials exhibit microstructural heterogeneity by interconnected network of same material phase. However, mussel byssus thread comprises of two distinct material phases. A robust numerical framework is developed to investigate the micromechanisms behind the macroscopic response of both of these materials. Using this framework, effect of microstuctural parameters has been addressed on the stress state of cellular specimens during split Hopkinson pressure bar test. A voronoi tessellation based algorithm has been developed to simulate the cellular microstructure. Micromechanisms (microinertia, microbuckling and microbending) governing macroscopic behavior of cellular solids are investigated thoroughly with respect to various microstructural and loading parameters. To understand the origin of high toughness of mussel byssus thread, a Genetic Algorithm (GA) based optimization framework has been developed. It is found that two different material phases (collagens) of mussel byssus thread are optimally distributed along the thread. These applications demonstrate that the presence of heterogeneity in the system demands high computational resources for simulation and modeling. Thus, Higher Dimensional Model Representation (HDMR) based surrogate modeling concept has been proposed to reduce computational complexity. The applicability of such methodology has been demonstrated in failure envelope construction and in multiscale finite element techniques. It is observed that surrogate based model can capture the behavior of complex material systems with sufficient accuracy. The computational algorithms presented in this thesis will further pave the way for accurate prediction of macroscopic deformation behavior of various class of advanced materials from their measurable microstructural features at a reasonable computational cost.